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Cartel Unity over the Business Cycle

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  • Mukesh Eswaran

Abstract

In this paper cartel behavior in business cycles when some firms are vulnerable to bankruptcy in the downturns is investigated. This vulnerability would restrict the set of collusive equilibria that are feasible in a repeated game and possibly result in a breakdown, in recessions, of all collusive agreements. It is demonstrated, however, that the existence of a low-cost producer in the cartel could prevent this breakdown. By adjusting market shares across the business cycle (and thereby eliminating the possibility of bankruptcy for its inefficient rivals), this ('swing') producer could enlarge the set of self-enforcing collusive equilibria. The results of this paper are seen to be consistent with a wide range of observations on the behavior of cartels over the business cycle.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Canadian Economics Association in its journal Canadian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 30 (1997)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 644-72

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Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:30:y:1997:i:3:p:644-72

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Cited by:
  1. Productivity Commission, 2005. "Review of Part X of the Trade Practices Act 1974: International Liner Cargo Shipping," Inquiry Reports, Productivity Commission, Government of Australia, number 32.
  2. Ashenfelter, Orley C & Graddy, Kathryn, 2004. "Anatomy of the Rise and Fall of a Price-Fixing Conspiracy: Auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's," CEPR Discussion Papers 4662, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Margaret C. Levenstein & Valerie Y. Suslow, 2002. "What Determines Cartel Success?," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2002-01, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  4. Lars-Hendrik R�ller & Frode Steen, 2006. "On the Workings of a Cartel: Evidence from the Norwegian Cement Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 321-338, March.
  5. Pierre-Pascal Gendron, 2001. "Corporation Tax Asymmetries and Cartel Unity," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 8(5), pages 659-674, November.

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