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Cournot versus Bertrand Kreps and Scheinkman (1983) Entry Welfare

A set of players, 1, , A set of actions for each player to take, (not necessarily identical), 1 , , .

A pay-off function for each player, 1 , , where each gives a real valued pay-off as a function of the actions chosen by each player.

I.e., 1 , , is the pay-off to player when player 1 chooses 1 1 , player 2 chooses 2 2 , etc.

A point in the action space = 1 , , is a Nash equilibrium if for all players , conditional on everyone elses behaviour, player cannot do better than 1 , , by selecting a different action.

Often helpful to think in terms of best response functions, i.e. the best action a player can choose as a function of other players actions. Formally: = arg max , is the best response function for player .

R 0:0

Idea: at any point in time, whatevers happened up to that point, from that point forward people will play Nash. And players know this in advance. A Nash equilibrium is a sub-game perfect Nash equilibrium (SPNE) if and only if at every node in the game tree, the actions it specifies at that node constitute a Nash equilibrium of the subgame.

Important: Must hold even for nodes that are never reached in equilibrium!

The software industry?

Without a process of price-adjustment requires a mysterious auctioneer to set prices. Large manufacturing, e.g. cars, airplanes, etc? Characterised by production quantity decisions being performed in advance.

Period 1: Firms invest in capacity. Period 2: Firms compete in price subject to the constraint that production is less or equal to capacity. Result: like Cournot.

Firms 1,2 :

Each with zero marginal cost for simplicity. Firm cannot produce more than (exogenous). Firms choose prices .

Market demand .

Suppose consumers all want at most one unit of the good, but they have different reservation prices. Also suppose they leave the house to go shopping at a random time throughout the day.

If they leave late they will arrive at firm 1 to find it has run out of stock.

1 consumers want to buy the good at price 1 . But only 1 of them will be able to. So, the probability of being rationed (and having 1 1 to buy from firm 2) is .

1

So, residual demand facing firm 2 is: 2 1 1 1 1 1 = 2 1 1 1

1

1

2

Is this efficient?

Suppose Alice values the good at less than 2 but more than 1 . If Alice is lucky, shell be able to buy the good at 1 . Suppose Bob values the good at more than 2 . If Bob is unlucky though, he wont be able to buy it at any price. So, if Alice met Bob they would want to trade.

Suppose instead that the consumers with the highest valuations rush out to the shops first. So the 1 consumers with the highest valuations get to buy from firm 1. Then the residual demand curve facing firm 2 is just 2 1 (as 2 is the number of consumers with valuations above 2 , which includes the 1 already served).

1

2 1 + 2

Recall: Alice values the good between 1 and 2 . Bob values the good at more than 2 . By the time she arrives the cheap store has sold out. Possibly even at 1 .

Alice will not be able to buy the good. Bob will be able to buy the good.

Efficiency:

Under efficient rationing the marginal consumer values the good at the price it costs them. (All other consumers pay less than their valuation.) Under proportional rationing some consumers pay less than their valuation. Maximised by efficient rationing. (Consequence of efficiency.)

Consumer surplus:

Producer surplus:

Firm 1 faces the same demand curve in either case. Firm 2 prefers proportional rationing.

Assume efficient rationing. And linear demand = 1 . Claim: both firms charging = 1 1 + 2 is an equilibrium, providing 1 <

Does firm 2 want to deviate to a lower price?

No, since they are already selling all their capacity.

1 3

and 2 <

1 . 3

[Next slide]

If they did they would face the residual demand curve: 1 2 1 , meaning profits of 2 1 2 1 . Derivative of profits at 2 = : 1 2 1 = 1 2 1 1 + 2 1 = 1 + 22 1 1 2 < + 1=0 3 3 So increasing price, decreases profits. I.e. the firm does not want to deviate to higher price.

Since the firms are symmetric firm 1 does not want to deviate either. So this is Nash.

Show that with proportional rationing the same price ( = 1 1 + 2 ) is an equilibrium providing 1 <

1 4

and 2 <

1 . 4

3 4

per unit.

Firm 1s revenue from the second stage cannot be more than it would be if it had chosen infinite capacity, and firm 2 had chosen zero capacity.

Second stage revenue would then be 1 . FOC

1 2

1 4

But, if firm 1s second stage revenue is at 1 1 3 most , its profits are at most 1 .

This is negative if 1 > .

4

3

1 3

What will they choose? In an SPNE in the second stage they will set = 1 1 + 2 (shown before).

Firm 1s profits are then 1 1 + 2 1 1 .

=Cournot! (Exercise: show 1 = 2 =

1 .) 12 4 3

Kreps and Scheinkman (1983) show this is quite a general result: with efficient rationing, capacity choice followed by price competition leads to the Cournot outcome.

This is the correct way to think about Cournot competition. General proof is messy, firms play mixed strategies off the equilibrium path.

However, Davidson and Deneckere (1986) show that with other rationing rules prices will be closer to the competitive level.

When firms have steeply increasing marginal costs. When investing in new capacity is slow. When consumers with the highest valuations make the most effort in searching for the best price. When there are large differences in marginal costs across firms. I.e. most of the time...

Suppose that before our one-shot oligopoly game (Cournot/Bertrand) a large number of potential firms have to simultaneously decide whether they wish to enter the market.

Doing so costs some amount > 0.

Another two stage game. In an SPNE potential entrants know that however many enter, behaviour in the second stage will be given by the usual Cournot/Bertrand solution.

Assume that all potential entrants have the same marginal cost. And assume that monopoly profits ( ) are bigger than the entry cost, but less than infinity. Suppose one firm decides to pay the entry cost.

In the second stage it will choose the monopoly price, and make a profit of .

Suppose more than one firm decides to pay the entry cost.

In the second stage all firms will set price equal to marginal cost, and thus make a loss overall of (i.e. a loss).

Exercise: when potential entrants have different marginal costs, which will enter?

So even when everything else lines up to enable = , if there is free entry, we are left with the monopoly outcome. We get monopoly precisely because competition would yield the competitive outcome.

When is welfare improved by the government paying the entry cost for two firms? When the DWL due to monopoly is greater than .

Recall DWL is the area between the demand and the MC curves for quantities between the monopoly one and the competitive one. I.e. when > where is marginal cost, is the monopoly quantity and is the perfectly competitive one. Exercise: simplify this condition in the special case of linear demand ( = 0 1 ).

Assume iso-elastic demand, = , hence , where = 1 . = We showed last lecture that this means = 1 1 . =1

1

1

1

If profits were less than , at least one firm would want to deviate to not entering. Thus profits must be greater than . But it must also be the case that if one extra firm entered, it would make a loss overall. Thus is the largest integer such that

1

> .

1

What happens to the number of firms in an industry as the size of the market increases?

Thus, the number of firms grows more slowly that the size of the market.

Intuition: if price did not adjust as more firms entered, then the entry condition would always keep

constant.

But price is falling as the market gets larger, so firms are less keen to enter.

Thus firms are larger in larger markets. (A general result for Cournot.)

is: where is the equilibrium production with firms.

0

So we differentiate welfare with respect to , which gives:

But at the equilibrium number of firms ( ): , thus, the derivative of welfare w.r.t. at is:

Intuition: an entrant does not internalise the damage it does to the profits of other firms, by pushing down prices.

Business stealing effect. Marginal consumer always pays her valuation, so no effect on consumer surplus.

The number of firms that enter. Social welfare at this point. The welfare optimal number of firms.

With quadratic demand = 1 2 (for < 1, = 0 for 1), derive (as a function of and ):

The Cournot solution for quantities. An expression for the number of firms. Advanced:

Derive the welfare at this point and the welfare optimal number of firms.

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