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Tacit collusion, firm asymmetries and numbers: Evidence from EC merger cases

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  • Davies, Stephen
  • Olczak, Matthew
  • Coles, Heather
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    Abstract

    This paper estimates the implicit model, especially the roles of size asymmetries and firm numbers, used by the European Commission to identify mergers with coordinated effects. This subset of cases offers an opportunity to shed empirical light on the conditions where a Competition Authority believes tacit collusion is most likely to arise. We find that, for the Commission, tacit collusion is a rare phenomenon, largely confined to markets of two, more or less symmetric, players. This is consistent with recent experimental literature, but contrasts with the facts on 'hard-core' collusion in which firm numbers and asymmetries are often much larger.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

    Volume (Year): 29 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 221-231

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:29:y:2011:i:2:p:221-231

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

    Related research

    Keywords: Tacit collusion Collective dominance Coordinated effects European mergers Asymmetries;

    References

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    1. Ivaldi, Marc & Jullien, Bruno & Rey, Patrick & Seabright, Paul & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "The Economics of Tacit Collusion," IDEI Working Papers 186, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    2. Joseph Farrell and Carl Shapiro., 1988. "Horizontal Mergers: An Equilibrium Analysis," Economics Working Papers 8880, University of California at Berkeley.
    3. Rothschild, R., 1999. "Cartel stability when costs are heterogeneous," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 717-734, July.
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    5. Harrington, Joseph E., 2006. "How Do Cartels Operate?," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 2(1), pages 1-105, August.
    6. Bergman, Mats A. & Jakobsson, Maria & Razo, Carlos, 2003. "An Econometric Analysis of the European Commission's Merger Decisions," Working Paper Series 2003:6, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    7. Tomaso Duso & Damien J. Neven & Lars-Hendrik Röller, 2007. "The Political Economy of European Merger Control: Evidence using Stock Market Data," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 455-489.
    8. Joseph E. Harrington, Jr, 2006. "How Do Cartels Operate?," Economics Working Paper Archive 531, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    9. Davies, Stephen W & Driffield, Nigel L & Clarke, Roger, 1999. "Monopoly in the UK: What Determines Whether the MMC Finds against the Investigated Firms?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 263-83, September.
    10. Dennis W. Carlton, 2009. "Why We Need to Measure the Effect of Merger Policy and How to Do It," NBER Working Papers 14719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 2004. "Two are few and four are many: number effects in experimental oligopolies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 435-446, April.
    12. Malcolm Coate, 2005. "Empirical Analysis of Merger Enforcement Under the 1992 Merger Guidelines," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 279-301, December.
    13. Khemani, R S & Shapiro, Daniel M, 1993. "An Empirical Analysis of Canadian Merger Policy," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 161-77, June.
    14. Salant, Stephen W & Switzer, Sheldon & Reynolds, Robert J, 1983. "Losses from Horizontal Merger: The Effects of an Exogenous Change in Industry Structure on Cournot-Nash Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(2), pages 185-99, May.
    15. Margaret E. Slade, 2004. "Market Power and Joint Dominance in U.K. Brewing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 133-163, 03.
    16. MiguelA. Fonseca & Hans-Theo Normann, 2008. "Mergers, Asymmetries and Collusion: Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(527), pages 387-400, 03.
    17. Coate, Malcolm B & McChesney, Fred S, 1992. "Empirical Evidence on FTC Enforcement of the Merger Guidelines," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(2), pages 277-93, April.
    18. 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.
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    Cited by:
    1. Fonseca, Miguel A. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2012. "Explicit vs. tacit collusion—The impact of communication in oligopoly experiments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1759-1772.
    2. Bruce Lyons & Minyan Zhu, 2013. "Compensating Competitors or Restoring Competition? EU Regulation of State Aid for Banks During the Financial Crisis," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 39-66, March.
    3. 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..
    4. Argenton, Cédric & Müller, Wieland, 2012. "Collusion in experimental Bertrand duopolies with convex costs: The role of cost asymmetry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 508-517.

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