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Strategic Interaction amongst Australia’s East Coast Ports

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  • Marcin Pracz
  • Rod Tyers

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Abstract

Australia’s principal container ports, located in its state capitals, are owned and operated by state authorities that largely return profits from port operations to state governments. Since they govern the volumes of trade in most merchandise, they command immense influence over the openness and flexibility of the national economy. In this study, we estimate the elasticities of substitution between services of ports in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. We also examine the pricing of port services to estimate the extent of their interaction, from which we derive conjectural variations parameters to assess the actual and potential levels of price collusion. The results confirm that there is considerable potential for destructive oligopoly behaviour and that pricing by the apparently isolated Port of Melbourne has been effectively controlled by price-cap regulation. The services of the ports of Sydney and Brisbane are comparatively substitutable, however. Although their regulation appears to be less restrictive, this substitutability appears to result in some level of competition, which aids in the control of pricing.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics in its series ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics with number 2006-471.

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Length: 29 Pages
Date of creation: Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2006-471

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  1. Iwata, Gyoichi, 1974. "Measurement of Conjectural Variations in Oligopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(5), pages 947-66, September.
  2. Steven S. Vickner & Stephen P. Davies, 2000. "Estimating strategic price response in a product-differentiated oligopoly: The case of a domestic canned fruit industry," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 125-140.
  3. Odagiri, Hiroyuki & Yamashita, Takashi, 1987. "Price Mark-Ups, Market Structure, and Business Fluctuation in Japanese Manufacturing Industries," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 317-31, March.
  4. Jeffrey I. Bernstein & Pierre Mohnen, 1991. "Price-Cost Margins, Exports and Productivity Growth: With an Application to Canadian Industries," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 24(3), pages 638-59, August.
  5. Nevo, Aviv, 1998. "Identification of the oligopoly solution concept in a differentiated-products industry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 391-395, June.
  6. Hong Hwang, 1984. "Intra-Industry Trade and Oligopoly: A Conjectural Variations Approach," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 17(1), pages 126-37, February.
  7. Stavins, Joanna, 1997. "Estimating demand elasticities in a differentiated product industry: The personal computer market," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 347-367.
  8. Rohlfs, Jeffrey, 1974. "Econometric Analysis of Supply in Concentrated Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 15(1), pages 69-74, February.
  9. Chris M. Alaouze & John S. Marsden & John Zeitsch, 1977. "Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution Between Imported and Domestically Produced Commodities at the Four Digit ASIC Level," Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers o-11, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
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Cited by:
  1. Russell Pittman, 2009. "Competition Issues in Restructuring Ports and Railways, Including Brief Consideration of these Sectors in India," EAG Discussions Papers 200906, Department of Justice, Antitrust Division.

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