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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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Bibliographic Info

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. John Wooders, 1997. "Equilibrium in a market with intermediation is Walrasian," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 75-89.
  2. John Wooders & Diego Moreno, 2001. "Prices, Delay, and the Dynamics of Trade," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 28(7), pages A0.
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  4. 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.
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  6. Inderst, Roman & Wey, Christian, 2001. "Bargaining, Mergers and Technology Choice in Bilaterally Oligopolistic Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 2981, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Claude d'Aspremont & Alexis Jacquemin & Jean Jaskold Gabszewicz & John A. Weymark, 1983. "On the Stability of Collusive Price Leadership," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 16(1), pages 17-25, February.
  8. Arial Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1985. "Equilibrium in a Market with Sequential Bargaining," Levine's Working Paper Archive 623, David K. Levine.
  9. Ponsati Clara, 2004. "Search and Bargaining in Large Markets With Homogeneous Traders," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-27, February.
  10. 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.
  11. von Ungern-Sternberg, Thomas, 1996. "Countervailing power revisited," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 507-519, June.
  12. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John., 1990. "Bidding Rings," Working Papers 726, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  13. Burani, Nadia & Zwicker, William S., 2003. "Coalition formation games with separable preferences," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 27-52, February.
  14. Bogomolnaia, Anna & Jackson, Matthew O., 2002. "The Stability of Hedonic Coalition Structures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 201-230, February.
  15. 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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