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Voting in Cartels: Theory and Evidence from the Shipping Industry

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  • César Martinelli
  • Rich Sicotte

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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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 122247000000000598.

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Date of creation: 12 Oct 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:122247000000000598

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  1. Andrew Caplin & Barry Nalebuff, 1990. "Aggregation and Social Choice: A Mean Voter Theorem," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 938, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. 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.
  3. Schmalensee, Richard, 1987. "Competitive advantage and collusive optima," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 351-367.
  4. Caplin, Andrew S & Nalebuff, Barry J, 1988. "On 64%-Majority Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 787-814, July.
  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. Cave, J. & Salant, S., 1992. "Cartel Quotas Under Majority Rule," Papers 92-04, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  7. Cramton, Peter C & Palfrey, Thomas R, 1990. "Cartel Enforcement with Uncertainty about Costs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(1), pages 17-47, February.
  8. 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.
  9. D. McFadden & J. Hausman, 1981. "Specification Tests for the Multinominal Logit Model," Working papers 292, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
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