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Does market demand volatility facilitate collusion?

  • Wong, Kit Pong
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    This paper develops a real options model of a price-setting cartel under uncertainty to examine whether market demand volatility facilitates collusion or not. We show that there is a critical level of market demand (the optimal defection trigger) above which firms find it desirable to defect from the cartel. We show further that an increase in the underlying market demand uncertainty has two opposing effects on the optimal defection trigger. First, the increased market demand volatility gives rise to the usual positive effect on option value that lifts up the optimal defection trigger. Second, the increased market demand volatility calls for an upward adjustment of the discount rate and thus creates a negative effect on option value that pushes down the optimal defection trigger. We show that the negative effect dominates (is dominated by) the positive effect when the underlying market demand uncertainty is trivial (significant), thereby rendering a U-shaped pattern of the optimal defection trigger against the market demand volatility.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economic Modelling.

    Volume (Year): 25 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4 (July)
    Pages: 696-703

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:25:y:2008:i:4:p:696-703
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    1. Kyle Bagwell & Robert Staiger, 1997. "Collusion Over the Business Cycle," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 82-106, Spring.
    2. Robert C. Merton, 1973. "Theory of Rational Option Pricing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 4(1), pages 141-183, Spring.
    3. Hassan, Shakill, 2006. "Optimal timing of defections from price-setting cartels in volatile markets," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 792-804, September.
    4. Wong, Kit Pong, 2007. "The effect of uncertainty on investment timing in a real options model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 2152-2167, July.
    5. Merton, Robert C, 1973. "An Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 867-87, September.
    6. Plourde, André & Watkins, G. C., 1998. "Crude oil prices between 1985 and 1994: how volatile in relation to other commodities?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 245-262, September.
    7. Robert McDonald & Daniel Siegel, 1986. "The Value of Waiting to Invest," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(4), pages 707-727.
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