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Cartel Enforcement with Uncertainty about Costs

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  • Cramton, Peter C
  • Palfrey, Thomas R

Abstract

What cartel agreements are possible when firms have private information about production costs? For private cost uncertainty, the authors characterize the set of cartel agreements that can be supported, recognizing incentive and participation constraints. If defection results in either Cournot or Bertrand competition, the incentive problem in large cartels is severe enough to prevent the cartel from achieving the monopoly outcome. However, if the cartel agreement requires less than unanimous ratification by the member firms, then the incentive problem can be overcome in large cartels. With common cost uncertainty, perfect collusion is possible in large cartels, regardless of the ratification rule. Copyright 1990 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 31 (1990)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 17-47

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:31:y:1990:i:1:p:17-47

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  1. Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Exchange of Cost Information in Oligopoly," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 433-46, July.
  2. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1992. "Bidding Rings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 579-99, June.
    • McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John., 1990. "Bidding Rings," Working Papers 726, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  3. Porter, Robert H., 1983. "Optimal cartel trigger price strategies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 313-338, April.
  4. Hallagan, William S, 1985. "Contracting Problems and the Adoption of Regulatory Cartels," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 23(1), pages 37-56, January.
  5. Maskin, Eric S & Riley, John G, 1984. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1473-1518, November.
  6. Fudenberg, Drew & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Folk Theorem in Repeated Games with Discounting or with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 533-54, May.
  7. Gal-Or, Esther, 1985. "Information Sharing in Oligopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 329-43, March.
  8. Vives, Xavier, 1984. "Duopoly information equilibrium: Cournot and bertrand," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 71-94, October.
  9. 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.
  10. Abreu, Dilip, 1986. "Extremal equilibria of oligopolistic supergames," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 191-225, June.
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  12. Cremer, Jacques & McLean, Richard P, 1988. "Full Extraction of the Surplus in Bayesian and Dominant Strategy Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1247-57, November.
  13. Kihlstrom, Richard & Vives, Xavier, 1992. "Collusion by Asymmetrically Informed Firms," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(2), pages 371-96, Summer.
  14. Jean Tirole & Jean-Jaques Laffont, 1985. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Working papers 368, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  15. David P. Baron & David Besanko, 1984. "Regulation, Asymmetric Information, and Auditing," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(4), pages 447-470, Winter.
  16. Hendricks, Kenneth & Porter, Robert H, 1988. "An Empirical Study of an Auction with Asymmetric Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 865-83, December.
  17. Loeb, Martin & Magat, Wesley A, 1979. "A Decentralized Method for Utility Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 399-404, October.
  18. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1985. "Uncertainty Resolution, Private Information Aggregation, and the Cournot Competitive Limit," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 69-83, January.
  19. Roger B. Myerson, 1978. "Optimal Auction Design," Discussion Papers 362, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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