Stanford University


Competition and Efficiency of Coalitions in Cournot Games With Uncertainty

Ramesh Johari
Baosen Zhang
Ram Rajagopal

IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems
Volume: 6, Issue: 2
June 2019

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We investigate the impact of coalition formation on the efficiency of Cournot games where producers face uncertainties. In particular, we study a market model where firms must determine their output before an uncertain production capacity is realized. In contrast to standard Cournot models, we show that the game is not efficient when there are many small firms. Instead, producers tend to act conservatively to hedge against their risks. We show that in the presence of uncertainty, the game becomes efficient when firms are allowed to take advantage of diversity to form groups of certain sizes. We characterize the tradeoff between market power and uncertainty reduction as a function of group size. In particular, we compare the welfare and output obtained with coalitional competition, with the same benchmarks when output is controlled by a single system operator. We show that when there are N firms present, competition between groups of size Ω (√N) results in equilibria that are socially optimal in terms of welfare and groups of size Ω (N 2/3 ) are socially optimal in terms of production. We also extend our results to the case of uncertain demand by establishing an equivalency between the Cournot oligopoly and Cournot Oligopsony. We demonstrate our results with real data from electricity markets with significant wind power penetration.

Stanford University