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Forward induction and the excess capacity puzzle: An experimental investigation
Brandts, Jordi; Cabrales, Antonio; Charness, Gary
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
While the theoretical industrial organization literature has long arguedthat excess capacity can be used to deter entry into markets, there islittle empirical evidence that incumbent firms effectively behave in thisway. Bagwell and Ramey (1996) propose a game with a specific sequence ofmoves and partially-recoverable capacity costs in which forward inductionprovides a theoretical rationalization for firm behavior in the field. Weconduct an experiment with a game inspired by their work. In our data theincumbent tends to keep the market, in contrast to what the forwardinduction argument of Bagwell and Ramey would suggest. The results indicatethat players perceive that the first mover has an advantage without havingto pre-commit capacity. In our game, evolution and learning do not driveout this perception. We back these claims with data analysis, atheoretical framework for dynamics, and simulation results.
Behavioral and Experimental Economics
forward induction
equilibrium selection
first-mover advantage
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