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Simulation and Prosecution of a Cartel with Endogenous Cartel Formation

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  • Johannes Paha

    ()
    (Justus-Liebig-University Gießen)

Abstract

In many cases, collusive agreements are formed by asymmetric firms and include only a subset of the firms active in the cartelized industry. This paper endogenizes the process of cartel formation in a numeric simulation model where firms differ in marginal costs and production technologies. The paper models the incentive to collude in a differentiated products Bertrand-oligopoly. Cartels are the outcomes of a dynamic formation game in mixed strategies. I find that the Nash-equilibrium of this complex game can be obtained efficiently by a Differential Evolution stochastic optimization algorithm. It turns out that large firms have a higher probability to collude than small firms. Since firms' characteristics evolve over time, the simulation is used to generate data of costs, prices, output-quantities, and profits. This data forms the basis for an evaluation of empirical methods used in the detection of cartels.

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File URL: http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb02/makro/forschung/magkspapers/07-2010_paha.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung) in its series MAGKS Papers on Economics with number 201007.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in
Handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:201007

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Related research

Keywords: Collusion; Cartel Detection; Cartel Formation; Differential Evolution; Heuristic Optimization; Industry Simulation;

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References

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  1. Tom Ross, 1990. "Cartel Stability And Product Differentiation," Carleton Industrial Organization Research Unit (CIORU) 90-04, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
  2. Raymond Deneckere & Carl Davidson, 1985. "Incentives to Form Coalitions with Bertrand Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(4), pages 473-486, Winter.
  3. Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1147, David K. Levine.
  4. d'ASPREMONT, Claude & JACQUEMIN, Alexis & GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & WEYMARK, John A., . "On the stability of collusive price leadership," CORE Discussion Papers RP -522, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. John Haltiwanger & Joseph E. Harrington Jr., 1991. "The Impact of Cyclical Demand Movements on Collusive Behavior," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(1), pages 89-106, Spring.
  6. Iwan Bos & Joseph E. Harrington, Jr., 2008. "Endogenous Cartel Formation with Heterogeneous Firms," Economics Working Paper Archive 544, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Nov 2008.
  7. Prokop, Jacek, 1999. "Process of dominant-cartel formation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 241-257, February.
  8. Compte, Olivier & Jenny, Frederic & Rey, Patrick, 2002. "Capacity constraints, mergers and collusion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
  9. Porter, Robert H, 1985. "On the Incidence and Duration of Price Wars," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(4), pages 415-26, June.
  10. Hinloopen, Jeroen, 2006. "Internal cartel stability with time-dependent detection probabilities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1213-1229, November.
  11. Li, J.X. & Winker, P., 2000. "Time Series Simulation With Quasi Monte Carlo Methods," Papers 9-00-1, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  12. Johannes Paha, 2011. "Empirical methods in the analysis of collusion," Empirica, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 389-415, July.
  13. Mattheos Protopapas & Francesco Battaglia & Elias Kosmatopoulo, 2008. "Coevolutionary Genetic Algorithms for Establishing Nash Equilibrium in Symmetric Cournot Games," Working Papers 004, COMISEF.
  14. Helder Vasconcelos, 2005. "Tacit Collusion, Cost Asymmetries, and Mergers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(1), pages 39-62, Spring.
  15. Norma Olaizola, 2007. "Cartel formation and managerial incentives," Spanish Economic Review, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 219-236, September.
  16. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
  17. Effrosyni Diamantoudi, 2005. "Stable cartels revisited," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 907-921, November.
  18. Donsimoni, Marie-Paule, 1985. "Stable heterogeneous cartels," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 451-467, December.
  19. 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.
  20. Stephen Davies & Matthew Olczak, 2008. "Tacit versus Overt Collusion Firm Asymmetries and Numbers: What’s the Evidence?," Working Papers 08-32, Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia.
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