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Do Antitrust Laws Facilitate Collusion? Experimental Evidence on Costly Communication in Duopolies

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  • Andersson, Ola

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

  • Wengström, Erik

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

Abstract

Using Bertrand supergames with communication, we study price formation and stability of collusive agreements on experimental duopoly markets. The experimental design consists of three treatments with different costs of communication: zero-cost, low-cost and high-cost. We find that increasing the cost of communication results in a significantly higher price level. Moreover, making communication costly decreases the number of messages, but more importantly, it enhances the stability of collusive agreements. By letting the cost of communication symbolize the presence of an antitrust law that prohibits firms from discussing prices, McCutcheon (1997) presents an interesting application to antitrust policy. The experimental results support her theoretical prediction that antitrust laws might work in the interest of firms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2004:14.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 13 Apr 2004
Date of revision: 13 Sep 2004
Publication status: Published in The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2007, pages 321-339.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2004_014

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Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden
Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
Fax: +46 +46 2224613
Web page: http://www.nek.lu.se/en
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Keywords: Antitrust Policy; Experiments; Collusion; Costly Communication; Weakly Renegotiation-proof Equilibria;

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References

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  1. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
  2. Farrell, Joseph & Maskin, Eric, 1989. "Renegotiation in repeated games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 327-360, December.
  3. Evans, Robert & Maskin, Eric, 1989. "Efficient renegotiation--proof equilibria in repeated games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 361-369, December.
  4. Blume Andreas, 1994. "Intraplay Communication in Repeated Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 181-211, March.
  5. Douglas Bernheim, B. & Ray, Debraj, 1989. "Collective dynamic consistency in repeated games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 295-326, December.
  6. Camerer, Colin F. & Hogarth, Robin M., 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Working Papers 1059, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  7. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2002. "Information disclosure in auctions: an experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 431-444, August.
  8. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Promises, Threats and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 397-420, 04.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Fonseca, Miguel A. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2012. "Explicit vs. tacit collusion: The impact of communication in oligopoly experiments," DICE Discussion Papers 65, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  2. Zhongmin Wang, 2008. "Collusive Communication and Pricing Coordination in a Retail Gasoline Market," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 35-52, February.
  3. Waichman, Israel & Requate, Till & Siang, Ch'ng Kean, 2010. "Pre-play communication in Cournot competition: An experiment with students and managers," Economics Working Papers 2010,09, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
  4. Mark Armstrong & Steffen Huck, 2010. "Behavioral Economics as Applied to Firms: A Primer," CESifo Working Paper Series 2937, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Leufkens, Kasper & Peeters, Ronald, 2011. "Price dynamics and collusion under short-run price commitments," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 134-153, January.
  6. Andersson, Ola & Holm, Håkan J., 2010. "Endogenous communication and tacit coordination in market entry games: An explorative experimental study," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 477-495, September.
  7. Bigoni, Maria & Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof & Le Coq, Chloé & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2008. "Fines, Leniency and Rewards in Antitrust: An Experiment," Working Paper Series 738, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 06 Aug 2009.
  8. Christer Andersson & Ola Andersson & Tommy Andersson, 2013. "Sealed bid auctions versus ascending bid auctions: an experimental study," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 1-16, March.
  9. Andersson, Ola & Wengström, Erik, 2011. "Credible Communication and Cooperation: Experimental Evidence from Multi-stage Games," Working Paper Series 883, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  10. Kyle Hampton & Katerina Sherstyuk, 2010. "Demand Shocks, Capacity Coordination and Industry Performance: Lessons from Economic Laboratory," Working Papers 201023, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  11. Lisa Bruttel & Simeon Schudy, 2010. "Competition within firms," TWI Research Paper Series 62, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
  12. Ola Andersson & Hakan J. Holm, 2013. "Speech Is Silver, Silence Is Golden," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(3), pages 497-507, August.
  13. Leufkens, Kasper & Peeters, Ronald, 2008. "Price dynamics and collusion under short-run price commitments," Research Memorandum 052, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  14. Clemens, Georg & Rau, Holger A., 2014. "Do leniency policies facilitate collusion? Experimental evidence," DICE Discussion Papers 130, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  15. Bos Iwan & Peeters Ronald & Pot Erik, 2010. "Do Antitrust Agencies Facilitate Meetings in Smoke-Filled Rooms?," Research Memorandum 030, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).

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