The prevalent market structures found in many resource markets consist of a high concentration on the supply side and a low demand elasticity. Market results are therefore frequently assumed to be an outcome of strategic interaction between producers. Common models to investigate the market outcomes and underlying market structures are games representing competitive markets, strategic Cournot competition and Stackelberg structures taking into account a dominant player acting first followed by one or more followers. Besides analysing a previously neglected scenario of the latter kind, we add to the literature by expanding the application of mathematical models by applying an Equilibrium Problem with Equilibrium Constraints (EPEC), which is used to model multi-leader-follower games, to a spatial market. We apply our model by investigating the prevalent market setting in the international market for metallurgical coal between 2008 and 2010, whose market structure provides arguments for a wide variety of market structures. Using different statistical measures and comparing model with actual market outcomes, we find that two previously neglected settings perform best: First, a setting in which the four largest metallurgical coal exporting firms compete against each other as Stackelberg leaders, while the remainders act as Cournot followers. Second, a setting with BHPB acting as sole Stackelberg leader.
applied industrial organisation Stackelberg games (MPEC) multi-leader-follower games (EPEC) Cournot oligopolies (MCP) resource markets