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Explicit vs. tacit collusion—The impact of communication in oligopoly experiments

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  • Fonseca, Miguel A.
  • Normann, Hans-Theo

Abstract

We explore the difference between explicit and tacit collusion by investigating the impact communication has in experimental markets. For Bertrand oligopolies with various numbers of firms, we compare pricing behavior with and without the possibility to communicate among firms. We find strong evidence that talking helps to obtain higher profits for any number of firms, however, the gain from communicating is non-monotonic in the number of firms, with medium-sized industries having the largest additional profit from talking. We also find that industries continue to collude successfully after communication is disabled. Communication supports firms in coordinating on collusive pricing schemes, and it is also used for conflict mediation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 56 (2012)
Issue (Month): 8 ()
Pages: 1759-1772

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:56:y:2012:i:8:p:1759-1772

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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Keywords: Cartels; Collusion; Communication; Experiments; Repeated games;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Clemens, Georg & Rau, Holger A., 2014. "Do leniency policies facilitate collusion? Experimental evidence," DICE Discussion Papers 130, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  3. Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick & Franck, Jens-Uwe, 2013. "Actions Speak Louder than Words: Econometric Evidence to Target Tacit Collusion in Oligopolistic Markets," Discussion Papers in Economics 16179, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Normann, Hans-Theo & Rösch, Jürgen & Schultz, Luis Manuel, 2012. "Do buyer groups facilitate collusion?," DICE Discussion Papers 74, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  5. Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick & Franck, Jens-Uwe, 2013. "Endogenous Price Commitment, Sticky and Leadership Pricing: Evidence from the Italian Petrol Market," Discussion Papers in Economics 16182, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Embrey Matthew & Mengel Friederike & Peeters Ronald, 2012. "Strategic commitment and cooperation in experimental games of strategic complements and substitutes," Research Memorandum 052, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  7. Axel Sonntag & Daniel John Zizzo, 2014. "Institutional Authority and Collusion," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 14-02, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  8. Catherine Roux & Christian Thöni, 2013. "Collusion Among Many Firms: The Disciplinary Power of Targeted Punishment," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 13.02, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  9. Joseph E. Harrington, Jr., 2012. "A Theory of Tacit Collusion," Economics Working Paper Archive 588, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.

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