Oligopoly: Introduction. Oligopoly. Oligopoly Models. Oligopoly: Analysis. ECON 370: Microeconomic Theory Summer 2004 Rice University Stanley Gilbert


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1 Oligopoly: Introduction Oligopoly ECON 370: Microeconomic Theory Summer 00 Rice University Stanley Gilbert Alternative Models of Imperfect Competition Monopoly and monopolistic competition Duopoly  two firms in industry Oligopoly  a few (> ) firms in industry Essential Features Nature of interaction between firms (beyond those captured in price) is essence of theories No single grand theory Econ Oligopoly Oligopoly: Analysis Simplest Model of Oligopoly: Duopoly Assume only two firms (to limit interactions) Assume homogeneous output No product differentiation Single market price No competition in quality Equilibrium: Solve for output, price of each firm Oligopoly Models We use Game Theory to model strategic behavior Strategic Behavior takes into account how others will react to one s actions Noncooperative simultaneous games Simultaneously choose quantities (or prices) Noncooperative sequential games Quantity (or price) leader (dominant/barometric firm) Quantity (or price) follower Cooperative games Collusion  jointly set quantities (or prices) Econ Oligopoly 3 Econ Oligopoly
2 Quantity Competition: Introduction Assume firms choose output and allow prices to adjust to clear markets Each firm chooses output to max profits, given output level of competitor Firms compete in outputs Firm : y units; Firm : y units total quantity supplied is y + y market price will be p(y + y ) total cost functions are c (y ) and c (y ) Quantity Competition: Profits Firm maximizes profit, given y Firm profit function: π (y ; y ) p(y + y ) y c(y ) Firm Reaction Function What output y maximizes firm profit? Given y (expected or observed) Solve for reaction function y f(y ) Econ Oligopoly 5 Econ Oligopoly 6 Quantity Competition: Example Let market inverse demand function be p(y T ) 60 y T y T y + y Let firms (different) total cost functions be c (y ) y c (y ) 5y + y Example: Firm Firm profit function is π (y ; y ) (60 y y )y y So, given y, solve for firm profitmaximizing y π 60 y y y 0 y Firm s reaction function (best response) is y R(y) 5 y Econ Oligopoly 7 Econ Oligopoly 8
3 y 60 Graph: Firm Firm s Reaction Curve R (y ) y R ( y) 5 y ( ory 60 y) Example: Firm Similarly, given y, Firm s profit function is π ( y ; y ) (60 y y )y 5y y To get Firm s profitmaximizing output π 60 y y 5 y 0 y 5 y Firm s reaction function (best response) is 5 y y ( ) R y Econ Oligopoly 9 Econ Oligopoly 0 Graph: Firm Equilibrium 5/ y Firm s Reaction Curve R (y ) 5 y y ( ) R y 5 y Equilibrium is a CournotNash equilibrium Each firm s output level is best response to other firm s output level Stable: neither firm wants to change output Thus, (y *, y * ) such that y * R (y * ) and y * R (y * ) Essentially solving a pair of simultaneous equations Econ Oligopoly Econ Oligopoly 3
4 * * * y R ( y ) 5 y Equilibrium * y * * 5 y R ( ) y Graph: Equilibrium Substitute for y * to get * * 5 y * y 5 y 3 y 60 * 5 3 y 8 5/ Equilibrium CournotNash equilibrium is (y *, y * ) (3, 8) 5 5 y Econ Oligopoly 3 Econ Oligopoly Cournot v Monopoly Price Less than monopoly Greater than perfect competition Quantity Greater than monopoly Less than perfect competition Total profit Less than monopoly Greater than perfect competition Price Competition: Bertrand Games Alternative strategic behavior Firms compete using only price (not quantity) Bertrand games Simultaneous game Firms use price as strategic variable Get results dramatically different from quantity competition Econ Oligopoly 5 Econ Oligopoly 6
5 Bertrand Games: Introduction Example of Bertrand game Each firm s MC c, constant All firms simultaneously set their prices Nash Equilibrium: All firms set p c All firms have same p, or high p loses all sales Any p > c, slight price reduction yields big profit Any p < c, lose money Sequential games Sequential Games One firm (larger firm) moves first Then follower firms react Both consider reactions of other Can compete in Quantity von Stackelberg Model Price Price leadership models Econ Oligopoly 7 Econ Oligopoly 8 The von Stackelberg Model Outputs are strategic variables Firm leader firm chooses y first Firm follower then reacts Leader anticipates reaction of follower (doesn t assume y constant as in CN) Issues What are prices, outputs, profits Is there a first mover advantage? The von Stackelberg Model Follower firm will choose y to maximize profit, given leader firm y (CN assumption) Thus, follower reaction function: y R (y ) Leader firm () anticipates follower firm s () reaction function, so chooses y to max profit π s (y ) p[y + R (y )]y c (y ) Econ Oligopoly 9 Econ Oligopoly 0 5
6 Von Stackelberg Game: Profits Note: leader firm makes a profit at least as large as CournotNash profit Can always choose y CN output Follower will respond with y CN output So, can at least achieve CN profit Return to duopoly example w / different MC s Leader firm has lower costs c (y ) y Follower firm has higher costs c (y ) 5y + y Von Stackelberg Game: Example Same characteristics as before Market inverse demand function is p 60 y T The firms cost functions are c (y ) y and c (y ) 5y + y Firm is follower, with reaction function 5 y y ( ) R y Econ Oligopoly Econ Oligopoly Von Stackelberg Game: Example Leader s profit function is π [ y R ( y )] y s ( y ) 60 y 5 y 60 y y y 95 7 y y For a profitmaximum, first order condition is 95 7 y y s 3.9 Von Stackelberg Game: Example Follower firm s response to y 3.9 is y s s R(y) 7.8 Recall CN outputs are (y *, y * ) (3,8) So leader produces more than CN output, follower produces less than its CN output First mover advantage to leader (but modest because leader also has cost advantage) Econ Oligopoly 3 Econ Oligopoly 6
7 Sequential Price Games: Introduction Priceleadership Sequential game Priceleader firm sets its price Typically large, respected firm Dominant firm Barometric firm Follower firms usually smaller react to leader Note: Follower firms are price takers Analogous to competitive firms Price Leadership Market demand function is D(p) Given leader price p, follower firms supply Y f (p), anticipated by leader So leader gets residual demand L(p) D(p) Y f (p) Leader s chooses p to max profit π L (p) p[d(p)  Y f (p)] c L [D(p)  Y f (p)] Econ Oligopoly 5 Econ Oligopoly 6 Price Leadership Results Followers act as competitors PMC Economic profit of each is zero Leader acts as monopolist w/ residual demand MR L MC L Only leader earns monopoly profits Cooperative Behavior: Collusion Collusion is illegal in US But not for international cartels OPEC Bauxite, copper, tin, coffee, tea, mercury, iodine Goal of cartel: Joint profit maximization Can achieve (joint) monopoly profits Must divide among cartel members If cartel is part of market, like dominant firm model Econ Oligopoly 7 Econ Oligopoly 8 7
8 Cooperative Behavior: Collusion Fundamental tension for cartels Stability: Higher profits (share of joint max) Instability Successful cartel has p >> MC One member alone faces nearly fixed p Gets huge profits if lowers own price while others hold price constant (cheat on agreement) Cooperative Behavior: Collusion Factors that promote cartel cohesion Similar costs, expectations of demand, motives so can agree on strategy Inelastic demand so potential profits large (disincentive for cheating) Inelastic demand in LR so profits maintained Little expansion of supply by nonmembers in LR Econ Oligopoly 9 Econ Oligopoly 30 8
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