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Voting in Cartels: Theory and Evidence from the Shipping Industry

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  • Cesar Martinelli

    ()
    (Centro de Investigacion Economica (CIE), Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM))

  • Richard Sicotte

    ()
    (Economics Department, University of Vermont)

Abstract

We examine the choice of voting rules by legal cartels with enforcement capabilities in the presence of uncertainty about demand and costs. We show that cartels face a trade-off between the commitment advantages of more stringent majority requirements and the loss of flexibility resulting from them. Expected heterogeneity in costs or demand conditions leads away from simple majority toward more stringent rules, while larger membership to the cartel leads away from unanimity toward less restrictive rules. Evidence from the shipping conferences of the late 1950s largely supports our model. With few firms, the rule favored by heterogeneous conferences is unanimity. In larger cartels, the favored rule is either 2/3 or 3/4-majority rule.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM in its series Working Papers with number 0404.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2004
Date of revision: 05 Mar 2004
Handle: RePEc:cie:wpaper:0404

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  1. Caplin, Andrew S & Nalebuff, Barry J, 1988. "On 64%-Majority Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 787-814, July.
  2. Peter Cramton & Thomas R. Palfrey, 1991. "Cartel Enforcement with Uncertainty About Costs," Papers of Peter Cramton 90ier, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
  3. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1991. "The Determination of Price and Output Quotas in a Heterogeneous Cartel," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(4), pages 767-92, November.
  4. Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1991. "Aggregation and Social Choice: A Mean Voter Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 1-23, January.
  5. Giovanni Maggi & Massimo Morelli, 2006. "Self-Enforcing Voting in International Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1137-1158, September.
  6. D. McFadden & J. Hausman, 1981. "Specification Tests for the Multinominal Logit Model," Working papers 292, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Cave, J. & Salant, S., 1992. "Cartel Quotas Under Majority Rule," Papers 92-04, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  8. Pedro L. MarÌn & Richard Sicotte, 2003. "Exclusive Contracts And Market Power: Evidence From Ocean Shipping," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 193-214, 06.
  9. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  10. Schmalensee, Richard, 1987. "Competitive advantage and collusive optima," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 351-367.
  11. George Deltas, 2003. "The Small-Sample Bias of the Gini Coefficient: Results and Implications for Empirical Research," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 226-234, February.
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