Experimental Duopoly Markets with Demand Inertia: Game-Playing Experiments and the Strategy Method

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This experimental study examines both spontaneous and strategically planned behavior of boundedly rational sub-
jects in a dynamic duopoly situation. Spontaneous behavior is observed in game-playing experiments where students from the University of Bonn have played the dynamic duopoly game by direct interaction via computer terminals. Strategically planned behavior isrevealed in strategies developed by forty-five academic economists from 12 countries. These strategies are played against each other in computer simulations. The most striking observation in both types of examination is the coexistence of cooperation and competition. Short-run monopoly pricing emerges as the prevailing mode of cooperation in the planned strategies.
However, the most successful strategies turn out to be moderately competitive. An evolutionary tournament suggests a long-run coexistence of competition and cooperation.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction.- 1.1 Motivation.- 1.2 The experimental methods.- 1.3 Structure of the book.- 2. The Model.- 2.1 The game.- 2.2 The subgame perfect equilibrium solution.- 2.3 Pareto optimality.- 2.4 A prominent cooperative solution.- 3. The Experimental Design.- 3.1 Organization of the game-playing experiments.- 3.2 Organization of the strategy tournaments.- 4. Results of the Game-Playing Experiments.- 4.1 General results.- 4.1.1 Prices and demand potentials.- 4.1.2 Profits.- 4.1.3 Price instability.- 4.2 Analysis of the individual markets of the second plays.- 5. Results of the Strategy Tournaments.- 5.1 General results.- 5.1.1 Average profits in the tournaments.- 5.1.2 Ranking lists of the strategies’ average profits.- 5.1.3 Profits in individual markets.- 5.1.4 Aggressiveness of the strategies.- 5.2 Structure of the strategies.- 5.2.1 Phase structure.- 5.2.2 Classification of the strategies.- 5.2.3 Some general remarks on the strategies.- 5.2.4 Strategy modifications after the first tournament.- 5.3 Success of the strategies.- 5.4 An evolutionary tournament.- 6. Comparison of Game-Playing Experiments and Strategy Tournaments.- 7. Comparison With Related Studies.- 7.1 Selten (1967a,b).- 7.2 Axelrod (1984).- 7.3 Selten, Mitzkewitz and Uhlich (1988).- 7.4 Comparison of results.- 8. Summary.- References.- APPENDIX A: List of IDEAS participants.- APPENDIX B: Examples of actually observed markets in the game-playing experiments.- APPENDIX C: Flow charts of the strategies surviving in the evolutionary tournament.

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