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Countervailing Power? Collusion in Markets with Decentralized Trade

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  • Nadia Burani
  • Clara Ponsati

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Abstract

We consider the collective incentives of buyers and sellers to form cartels in markets where trade is realized through decentralized pairwise bargaining. Cartels are coalitions of buyers or sellers that limit market participation and compensate inactive members for abstaining from trade. In a stable market outcome, cartels set Nash equilibrium quantities and cartel memberships are immune to defections. We prove that the set of stable market outcomes is non-empty and we provide its full characterization. Stable market outcomes are of two types: (i) at least one cartel actively restrains trade and the levels of market participation are balanced, or (ii) only one cartel, eventually the cartel that forms on the long side of the market, is active and it reduces trade slightly below the opponent's.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 540.02.

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Length: 23
Date of creation: 30 Sep 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:540.02

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Keywords: Decentralized Trade; pairwise bargaining; bilateral cartel fornation; cartel stability; countervailing power;

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  1. Donsimoni, Marie-Paule & Economides, Nicholas S & Polemarchakis, Herakles M, 1986. "Stable Cartels," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(2), pages 317-27, June.
  2. Inderst, Roman & Wey, Christian, 2001. "Bargaining, Mergers and Technology Choice in Bilaterally Oligopolistic Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 2981, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. d'ASPREMONT, Claude & JACQUEMIN, Alexis & GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & WEYMARK, John A., . "On the stability of collusive price leadership," CORE Discussion Papers RP -522, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Ricardo Lagos, 2000. "An Alternative Approach to Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 851-873, October.
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    • McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John., 1990. "Bidding Rings," Working Papers 726, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  6. Clara Ponsat?Author-Email: Clara.ponsati@uab.es, 2001. "Search and bargaining in large markets with homogeneous traders," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 533.02, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  7. von Ungern-Sternberg, Thomas, 1996. "Countervailing power revisited," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 507-519, June.
  8. Bogomolnaia, Anna & Jackson, Matthew O., 2002. "The Stability of Hedonic Coalition Structures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 201-230, February.
  9. Burani, Nadia & Zwicker, William S., 2003. "Coalition formation games with separable preferences," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 27-52, February.
  10. Horn, Henrik & Wolinsky, Asher, 1988. "Worker Substitutability and Patterns of Unionisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 484-97, June.
  11. John Wooders, 1997. "Equilibrium in a market with intermediation is Walrasian," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 75-89.
  12. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Organizational Design and Technology Choice under Intrafirm Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 195-222, March.
  13. Ray, D. & Vohra, R., 1996. "A Theory of Endogenous Coalition Structure," Papers 68, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  14. Rubinstein, Ariel & Wolinsky, Asher, 1985. "Equilibrium in a Market with Sequential Bargaining," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(5), pages 1133-50, September.
  15. Moreno, Diego & Wooders, John, 2002. "Prices, Delay, and the Dynamics of Trade," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 304-339, June.
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