R&D investments as prebargaining strategies

W. Pauwels, P.M. Kort, E. Vanhaecht

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper analyzes a semicollusive, differentiated duopoly. Firms first compete in cost reducing R&D and then cooperate on the output market. The sharing of the joint profit on the output market is modeled as a Nash bargaining game. We study an asymmetric setting in which one firm has a lower unit cost of production than the other firm, before any R&D expenditures. If firms do not agree on how to share their joint profit, they play a noncooperative Nash equilibrium. Assuming linear demand functions, we show that the Nash bargaining outcome is independent of whether firms play a Cournot or a Bertrand Nash equilibrium, as long as both firms supply positive outputs in these equilibria. If the two products are sufficiently differentiated, there is a unique equilibrium in which both firms supply a positive output, and in which the low cost firm always invests more in R&D than the high cost firm. If the two products are not very differentiated, and if the difference in unit costs between the two firms is not too large, there exist two equilibria. In each of these equilibria only one firm supplies a positive output. This can be the low cost or the high cost firm. In the latter case, the initially high cost firm invests so much in R&D that its unit cost after R&D is lower than that of the other firm. This firm then leapfrogs the other firm. If the two products are very similar and if firms apply Bertrand strategies when disagreeing, there exist equilibria in which only one firm supplies a positive output, while in the noncooperative Nash equilibrium that same firm can prevent the other firm from entering the market. We show that, in the context of the Nash bargaining model, this latter firm still has the power to claim a share of the joint profit.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages36
JournalInternational Game Theory Review
Issue number3
Early online date12 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


  • Nash bargaining
  • r&d investments
  • product differentitation
  • cost asymmetry


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