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Conspiracies and Secret Discounts in Laboratory Markets

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  • Davis, Douglas D
  • Holt, Charles A

Abstract

This paper uses laboratory methods to evaluate whether price-fixing conspiracies break down in the presence of opportunities to offer secret discounts. The primary treatment difference is whether or not buyer-specific discounts from the posted list price are permitted. In standard posted-offer markets, conspiring sellers almost uniformly find and maintain near-monopoly prices. But when the possibility of offering secret discounts is introduced, sellers find sustaining collusive agreements much more difficult and transactions prices tend to fall toward competitive levels. Secret discounts yield competitive outcomes less consistently, however, when sellers are provided ex post information about sales quantities.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 108 (1998)
Issue (Month): 448 (May)
Pages: 736-56

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:108:y:1998:i:448:p:736-56

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Joseph E. Harrington, Jr & Roberto Hernan-Gonzalez & Praveen Kujal, 2013. "The Relative Efficacy of Price Announcements and Express Communication for Collusion: Experimental Findings," Working Papers 13-30, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  3. Adrian de Groot Ruiz & Theo Offerman & Sander Onderstal, 2011. "An Experimental Study of Credible Deviations and ACDC," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-153/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Francesco Fallucchi & Elke Renner & Martin Sefton, 2012. "Information Feedback and Contest Structure in Rent-Seeking Games," Discussion Papers 2012-12, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  5. Bolotova, Yuliya & Connor, John M. & Miller, Douglas J., 2005. "The Impact of Collusion on Price Behavior: Empirical Results from Two Recent Cases," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19164, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  6. Muren, Astri & Pyddoke, Roger, 2006. "Collusion without communication," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 43-54, March.
  7. Nihashi, M. & Saijo, T. & Une, M., 2000. "The Outsider and Sunk Cost Effects on 'Dango' in Public Procurement Bidding: An Experimental Analysis," ISER Discussion Paper 0514, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  8. Cason, Timothy N. & Sheremeta, Roman M. & Zhang, Jingjing, 2012. "Communication and efficiency in competitive coordination games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 26-43.
  9. Cason, Timothy N., 1995. "Cheap talk price signaling in laboratory markets," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 183-204, June.
  10. Arthur Zillante, 2005. "Spaced Out Monopolies: Theory and Empirics of Alternating Product Releases," Industrial Organization 0505008, EconWPA.
  11. John A. List, 2009. "The Economics of Open Air Markets," NBER Working Papers 15420, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Christine Harbring, 2006. "The effect of communication in incentive systems-an experimental study," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(5), pages 333-353.
  13. Cason, Timothy N. & Friedman, Daniel & Milam, Garrett H., 2003. "Bargaining versus posted price competition in customer markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 223-251, February.
  14. Kujal, Praveen, 1999. "Price ceilings and firm-specific quantity restrictions in posted-offer markets," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 389-406, December.

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