Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Collusion and Price Rigidity

Contents:

Author Info

  • Susan Athey
  • Kyle Bagwell
  • Chris Sanchirico

Abstract

We consider an infinitely repeated Bertrand game, in which prices are publicly observed and each firm receives a privately observed, i.i.d. cost shock in each period. We focus on symmetric perfect public equilibria, wherein any "punishments" are borne equally by all firms. We identify a tradeoff that is associated with collusive pricing schemes in which the price to be charged by each firm is strictly increasing in its cost level: such "fully sorting" schemes offer efficiency benefits, as they ensure that the lowest-cost firm makes the current sale, but they also imply an informational cost (distorted pricing and/or equilibrium-path price wars), since a higher-cost firm must be deterred from mimicking a lower-cost firm by charging a lower price. A rigid-pricing scheme, where a firm's collusive price is independent of its current cost position, sacrifices efficiency benefits but also diminishes the informational cost. For a wide range of settings, the optimal symmetric collusive scheme requires (i) the absence of equilibrium-path price wars and (ii) a rigid price. If firms are sufficiently impatient, however, the rigid-pricing scheme cannot be enforced, and the collusive price of lower-cost firms may be distorted downward in order to diminish the incentive to cheat. When the model is modified to include i.i.d. public demand shocks, the downward pricing distortion that accompanies a firm's lower-cost realization may occur only when current demand is high. Copyright The Review of Economic Studies Limited, 2004.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/abstract.asp?ref=0034-6527&vid=70&iid=3&aid=286&s=&site=1
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 71 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 317-349

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:bla:restud:v:71:y:2004:i:2:p:317-349

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0034-6527

Order Information:
Web: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/subs.asp?ref=0034-6527

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Kihlstrom, R. & Vives, X., 1989. "Collusion By Asymmetricaly Informed Firms," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 125-89, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  2. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David I & Maskin, Eric, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 997-1039, September.
  3. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell & Chris Sanchirico, 1998. "Collusion and Price Rigidity," Working papers 98-23, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Olivier Compte, 1998. "Communication in Repeated Games with Imperfect Private Monitoring," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 597-626, May.
  5. Peter Cramton & Thomas R. Palfrey, 1991. "Cartel Enforcement with Uncertainty About Costs," Papers of Peter Cramton 90ier, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
  6. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1995. "Collusion over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 5056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Christie, William G. & Schultz, Paul H., 1999. "The initiation and withdrawal of odd-eighth quotes among Nasdaq stocks: an empirical analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 409-442, June.
  8. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John., 1990. "Bidding Rings," Working Papers 726, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  9. Carlton, Dennis W, 1986. "The Rigidity of Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 637-58, September.
  10. Michihiro Kandori & Hitoshi Matsushima, 1997. "Private observation and Communication and Collusion," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1256, David K. Levine.
  11. Green, Edward J. & Porter, Robert H., 1982. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Working Papers 367, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  12. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
  13. Carlton, Dennis W., 1989. "The theory and the facts of how markets clear: Is industrial organization valuable for understanding macroeconomics?," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 909-946 Elsevier.
  14. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell, 2008. "Collusion With Persistent Cost Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 493-540, 05.
  15. Bulow, Jeremy & Roberts, John, 1989. "The Simple Economics of Optimal Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1060-90, October.
  16. Abreu, Dilip & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1986. "Optimal cartel equilibria with imperfect monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 251-269, June.
  17. John Haltiwanger & Joseph E. Harrington Jr., 1991. "The Impact of Cyclical Demand Movements on Collusive Behavior," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(1), pages 89-106, Spring.
  18. Michihiro Kandori & Hitoshi Matsushima, 1998. "Private Observation, Communication and Collusion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 627-652, May.
  19. Roberts, Kevin, 1985. "Cartel Behaviour and Adverse Selection," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(4), pages 401-13, June.
  20. Spulber, Daniel F, 1995. "Bertrand Competition When Rivals' Costs Are Unknown," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 1-11, March.
  21. Porter, Robert H., 1983. "Optimal cartel trigger price strategies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 313-338, April.
  22. Hay, George A & Kelley, Daniel, 1974. "An Empirical Survey of Price Fixing Conspiracies," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 13-38, April.
  23. Athey, Susan & Bagwell, Kyle, 2001. "Optimal Collusion with Private Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 428-65, Autumn.
  24. Paul Milgrom & Ilya Segal, 2002. "Envelope Theorems for Arbitrary Choice Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 583-601, March.
  25. Chakrabarti, Subir K., 2001. "Information Revelation and Collusion in Oligopolies with Unknown Costs," Working Papers 01-02, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  26. Roger B. Myerson, 1978. "Optimal Auction Design," Discussion Papers 362, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:restud:v:71:y:2004:i:2:p:317-349. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.