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What Collusion? Unilateral Market Power as a Catalyst for Countercyclical Markups

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  • Bart Wilson

Abstract

This paper presents and tests a simple model of competitive and unilateral market power regimes that yields countercyclical markups. Following a decrease in demand in the short run, capacity-constrained firms may have a strong incentive not to lower their prices to the new competitive price. Demand shocks may introduce market power into a previously competitive market. Experimental posted offer markets support this conjecture with complete information on the market structure. With only private information, there appears to be a hysteresis effect concerning supracompetitive prices, i.e., markets with a history of supracompetitive pricing continue to generate supracompetitive prices following demand shocks. However, competitive markets also remain competitive following demand shocks when firms only have private information on costs and capacities. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (1998)
Issue (Month): 2 (September)
Pages: 133-145

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Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:1:y:1998:i:2:p:133-145

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102888

Related research

Keywords: countercyclical markups; market power; oligopoly pricing;

References

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  1. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1995. "Collusion over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 5056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Brown-Kruse, Jamie, et al, 1994. "Bertrand-Edgeworth Competition in Experimental Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 343-72, March.
  3. David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
  4. Mestelman, Stuart & Welland, Douglas, 1994. "Price Flexibility and Market Performance in Experimental Markets," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 105-29, January.
  5. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
  6. Richard E. Levitan & Martin Shubik, 1970. "Price Duopoly and Capacity Constraints," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 287, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Ketcham, Jon & Smith, Vernon L & Williams, Arlington W, 1984. "A Comparison of Posted-Offer and Double-Auction Pricing Institutions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(4), pages 595-614, October.
  8. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  9. Davis, Douglas D. & Holt, Charles A., 2008. "The Exercise of Market Power in Laboratory Experiments," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  10. Kandori, Michihiro, 1991. "Correlated Demand Shocks and Price Wars during Booms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 171-80, January.
  11. Douglas D. Davis & Charles A. Holt, 1996. "Price rigidities and institutional variations in markets with posted prices (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 63-80.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Davis, Douglas D. & Wilson, Bart J., 2008. "Strategic buyers, horizontal mergers and synergies: An experimental investigation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 643-661, May.
  2. Davis, Douglas D. & Wilson, Bart J., 2005. "Differentiated product competition and the Antitrust Logit Model: an experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 89-113, May.
  3. Douglas Davis & Bart Wilson, 2006. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion, Mergers and Synergies: An Experimental Investigation of Differentiated Product Competition," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(2), pages 169-194.
  4. Abdullah Yavas, 2001. "Impossibility of a Competitive Equilibrium in the Real Estate Brokerage Industry," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 21(3), pages 187-200.

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