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Collusion with Capacity Constraints over the Business Cycle

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  • Fabra, Natlia

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of capacity constraints on the sustainability of collusion in markets subject to cyclical demand fluctuations. In the absence of capacity constraints (i.e. a limiting case of our model), Haltiwanger and Harrington (1991) show that firms find it more difficult to collude during periods of decreasing demand. We find that this prediction can be overturned if firms' capacities are sufficiently small. Capacity constraints imply that punishment profits move procyclically, so that periods of increasing demand may lead to lower losses from cheating even if collusive profits are rising. Haltiwanger and Harrington's main prediction remains valid for su±ciently large capacities.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt1cv2d2ww.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt1cv2d2ww

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  1. Borenstein, S. & Shepard, A., 1993. "Dynamic Pricing in Retail Gazoline Markets," Papers 93-22, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  2. Rosenbaum, David I. & Sukharomana, Supachat, 2001. "Oligopolistic pricing over the deterministic market demand cycle: some evidence from the US Portland cement industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 863-884, May.
  3. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1995. "Collusion over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 5056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Carl Davidson & Raymond Deneckere, 1986. "Long-Run Competition in Capacity, Short-Run Competition in Price, and the Cournot Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
  5. Iwand, Thomas & Rosenbaum, David I., 1991. "Pricing strategies in supergames with capacity constraints : Some evidence from the U.S. portland cement industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 497-511, December.
  6. Kandori, Michihiro, 1991. "Correlated Demand Shocks and Price Wars during Booms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 171-80, January.
  7. Brock, William A & Scheinkman, Jose A, 1985. "Price Setting Supergames with Capacity Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 371-82, July.
  8. Timothy F. BRESNAHAN & Valérie SUSLOW, 1989. "Oligopoly Pricing with Capacity Constraints," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 15-16, pages 267-289.
  9. 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.
  10. Lambson, Val Eugene, 1987. "Optimal Penal Codes in Price-Setting Supergames with Capacity Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 385-97, July.
  11. Osborne, Martin J. & Pitchik, Carolyn, 1986. "Price competition in a capacity-constrained duopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 238-260, April.
  12. 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.
  13. Compte, Olivier & Jenny, Frederic & Rey, Patrick, 2002. "Capacity constraints, mergers and collusion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
  14. Dan Kovenock & Raymond J. Deneckere, 1996. "Bertrand-Edgeworth duopoly with unit cost asymmetry (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 1-25.
  15. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing and the Effects of Aggregate Demand on Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 3206, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Rosenbaum, David I., 1989. "An empirical test of the effect of excess capacity in price setting, capacity-constrained supergames," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 231-241, June.
  17. Cowling, Keith, 1983. "Excess Capacity and the Degree of Collusion: Oligopoly Behaviour in the Slump," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 51(4), pages 341-59, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Christopher Knittel & Jason Lepore, 2006. "Tacit Collusion in the Presence of Cyclical Demand and Endogenous Capacity Levels," Working Papers 631, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  2. Federico Boffa & Carlo Scarpa, 2009. "An Anticompetitive Effect of Eliminating Transport Barriers in Network Markets," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 115-133, March.
  3. Joseph E. Harrington, Jr, 2005. "Detecting Cartels," Economics Working Paper Archive 526, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  4. João Correia-da-Silva & Joana Pinho & Hélder Vasconcelos, 2014. "Sustaining collusion in markets with a general evolution of demand," FEP Working Papers 537, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  5. Yossi Spiegel & Konrad O. Stahl, 2014. "Industry Structure and Pricing over the Business Cycle," CESifo Working Paper Series 4848, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Johannes Paha, 2013. "The Impact of Persistent Shocks and Concave Objective Functions on Collusive Behavior," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201328, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

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