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Collusion with secret price cuts: an experimental investigation

  • Robert Feinberg

    ()

    (American University)

  • Christopher Snyder

    ()

    (George Washington University)

Theoretical work starting with Stigler (1964) suggests that collusion may be difficult to sustain in a repeated game with secret price cuts and demand uncertainty. Compared to equilibria in games of perfect information, trigger-strategy equilibria in this context result in lower payoffs because punishments occur along the equilibrium path. We tested the theory in a series of economic experiments. Consistent with the theory, treatments with imperfect information were less collusive than treatments with perfect information. However, in the imperfect-information treatments, players seemed to settle on the static Nash outcome rather than using trigger strategies. Players did resort to punishments for undercutting in perfect-information treatments, and this sometimes led to successful collusion afterward.

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Article provided by AccessEcon in its journal Economics Bulletin.

Volume (Year): 3 (2002)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 1-11

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Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-02c90001
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  1. Feinberg, Robert M & Husted, Thomas A, 1993. "An Experimental Test of Discount-Rate Effects on Collusive Behaviour in Duopoly Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 153-60, June.
  2. Glenn Ellison, 1994. "Theories of Cartel Stability and the Joint Executive Committee," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 37-57, Spring.
  3. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, June.
  4. 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.
  5. Green, Edward J & Porter, Robert H, 1984. "Noncooperative Collusion under Imperfect Price Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 87-100, January.
  6. Slade, Margaret E, 1992. "Vancouver's Gasoline-Price Wars: An Empirical Exercise in Uncovering Supergame Strategies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 257-76, April.
  7. Cason, Timothy N & Mason, Charles F, 1999. "Information Sharing and Tacit Collusion in Laboratory Duopoly Markets," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(2), pages 258-81, April.
  8. Slade, Margaret E, 1987. "Interfirm Rivalry in a Repeated Game: An Empirical Test of Tacit Collusion," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 499-516, June.
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