Impact of Bayesian learning and externalities on strategic investment

H. Dharma Kwon, Wenxin Xu, Anupam Agrawal, Suresh Muthulingam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the interplay between learning effects and externalities in the problem of competitive investments with uncertain returns. We examine a game theoretic duopoly investment model in which (i) a firm can learn about the profitability of the investment by observing the performance of the first mover and (ii) externalities exist between the investments of two firms. We find a region of a war of attrition between the two firms in which the interplay between externalities and learning gives rise to counterintuitive effects on investment strategies and payoffs. In particular, we find that, contrary to the conventional war of attrition where an increase in benefits for the follower generally delays the first move, an increase in the rate of learning-which tends to benefit the follower-can hasten the first investment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-570
Number of pages21
JournalManagement Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016


  • Decision analysis
  • Dynamic programming
  • Games
  • Group decisions
  • Optimal control
  • Sequential
  • Stochastic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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