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Price Cutting and Business Stealing in Imperfect Cartels

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  • B. Douglas Bernheim
  • Erik Madsen

Abstract

Although economists have made substantial progress toward formulating theories of collusion in industrial cartels that account for a variety of fact patterns, important puzzles remain. Standard models of repeated interaction formalize the observation that cartels keep participants in line through the threat of punishment, but they fail to explain two important factual observations: first, apparently deliberate cheating actually occurs; second, it frequently goes unpunished even when it is detected. We propose a theory of equilibrium price cutting and business stealing in cartels to bridge this gap between theory and observation.

Suggested Citation

  • B. Douglas Bernheim & Erik Madsen, 2017. "Price Cutting and Business Stealing in Imperfect Cartels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 387-424, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:2:p:387-424
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20140359
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lee, Jeongsik & Kim, Byung-Cheol & Lim, Young-Mo, 2011. "Dynamic competition in technological investments: An empirical examination of the LCD panel industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 718-728.
    2. Dibooglu, Sel & AlGudhea, Salim N., 2007. "All time cheaters versus cheaters in distress: An examination of cheating and oil prices in OPEC," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 292-310, September.
    3. Robert H. Porter, 1983. "A Study of Cartel Stability: The Joint Executive Committee, 1880-1886," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 301-314, Autumn.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jetheo:v:176:y:2018:i:c:p:408-443 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Escobar, Juan F. & Llanes, Gastón, 2018. "Cooperation dynamics in repeated games of adverse selection," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 408-443.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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