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

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  • Ola Andersson
  • Erik Wengström

Abstract

Bertrand supergames with non‐binding communication are used to 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. Prices are found to be significantly higher when communication is costly. Moreover, costly communication decreases the number of messages, but more importantly, it enhances the stability of collusive agreements. McCutcheon (1997) presents an interesting application to antitrust policy by letting the cost of communication symbolize the presence of an antitrust law that prohibits firms from discussing prices. Although our experimental results do not support the mechanism of McCutcheon's (1997) argument, the findings point in the direction of her prediction that antitrust laws might work in the interest of firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Ola Andersson & Erik Wengström, 2007. "Do Antitrust Laws Facilitate Collusion? Experimental Evidence on Costly Communication in Duopolies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(2), pages 321-339, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:109:y:2007:i:2:p:321-339
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9442.2007.00500.x
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General

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