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Collusion with secret price cuts: an experimental investigation

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  • Robert Feinberg

    ()
    (American University)

  • Christopher Snyder

    ()
    (George Washington University)

Abstract

Theoretical work starting with Stigler (1964) suggests that collusion may be difficult to sustain in a repeated game with secret price cuts and demand uncertainty. Compared to equilibria in games of perfect information, trigger-strategy equilibria in this context result in lower payoffs because punishments occur along the equilibrium path. We tested the theory in a series of economic experiments. Consistent with the theory, treatments with imperfect information were less collusive than treatments with perfect information. However, in the imperfect-information treatments, players seemed to settle on the static Nash outcome rather than using trigger strategies. Players did resort to punishments for undercutting in perfect-information treatments, and this sometimes led to successful collusion afterward.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by AccessEcon in its journal Economics Bulletin.

Volume (Year): 3 (2002)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 1-11

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Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-02c90001

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  1. 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.
  2. Feinberg, Robert M & Husted, Thomas A, 1993. "An Experimental Test of Discount-Rate Effects on Collusive Behaviour in Duopoly Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 153-60, June.
  3. Porter, Robert H, 1985. "On the Incidence and Duration of Price Wars," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(4), pages 415-26, June.
  4. Slade, Margaret E, 1987. "Interfirm Rivalry in a Repeated Game: An Empirical Test of Tacit Collusion," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 499-516, June.
  5. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Aoyagi, Masaki & Fréchette, Guillaume, 2009. "Collusion as public monitoring becomes noisy: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1135-1165, May.
  2. Fonseca, Miguel A. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2012. "Explicit vs. tacit collusion: The impact of communication in oligopoly experiments," DICE Discussion Papers 65, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  3. Ruffle, Bradley J., 2009. "When Do Large Buyers Pay Less? Experimental Evidence," MPRA Paper 16683, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Jordan F. Suter & Kathleen Segerson & Christian A. Vossler & Gregory L. Poe, 2010. "Voluntary-Threat Approaches to Reduce Ambient Water Pollution," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1195-1213.
  5. Omar Al-Ubaydli & Peter Boettke, 2011. "Markets as Economizers of Information: Field Experimental Examination of the "Hayek Hypothesis"," Working Papers 1025, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
  6. Masaki Aoyagi & Guillaume R. Frechette, 2004. "Collusion in Repeated Games with Imperfect Public Monitoring," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000127, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. John A. List, 2009. "The Economics of Open Air Markets," NBER Working Papers 15420, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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