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Strategic Decision Making in Oligopoly Markets

Thomas Schelling, an expert on nuclear strategy and arms control, observed in his book The Strategy of Conflict (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1960), "The power to constrain an adversary depends upon the power to bind oneself." Explain this statement using the concept of strategic commitment.

In the 2000 US presidential contest, Al Gore was advised by his strategists to wait for George W. Bush to announce his vice presidential running mate before making his own decision on a running mate. Under what circumstances would Gore be better off giving Bush a head start on putting together his presidential ticket? What kind of strategic situation is this?

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In order to obtain the most desirable outcome, a person or company must be willing to threaten to pursue a less desirable one. For example, a company which offers loans could lower its rate if its rivals do. It really wants to keep rates high, but it can't do that without the threat of charging lower ones. Warnings and assurances are effective for coordinating behavior when there are multiple Nash equilibria. (Nash equilibria, or saddle points, occur when neither player can improve his ...

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