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Cartel price announcements: The vitamins industry

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  • Marshall, Robert C.
  • Marx, Leslie M.
  • Raiff, Matthew E.

Abstract

The primary manufacturers of vitamins admitted to participating in international market-share-agreement cartels for several years during the 1990s. Their announced price increases appeared in leading trade journals. We show that price announcements during the cartel period, and the lead times before these prices took effect, were fundamentally different in character from price announcements when explicit collusion was less likely. These differences are consistent with our model of price announcements where we account for the importance to the cartel of buyer acceptance of, or resistance to, a price increase. Acceptance avoids costly market-share reallocations among members of an explicit cartel. Logit estimates show that after 1985, the likelihood of a price announcement is largely driven by the length of time between announcements, rather than cost or demand factors, suggesting that the price announcements after 1985 stem from cartel meetings.

Suggested Citation

  • Marshall, Robert C. & Marx, Leslie M. & Raiff, Matthew E., 2008. "Cartel price announcements: The vitamins industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 762-802, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:26:y:2008:i:3:p:762-802
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mouraviev, Igor & Rey, Patrick, 2011. "Collusion and leadership," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 705-717.
    2. Boshoff, Willem & Frübing, Stefan & Hüschelrath, Kai, 2015. "Information exchange through non-binding advance price announcements: An antitrust analysis," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-060, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Pierluigi Sabbatini, 2016. "The Coordinated Effect of a Merger with Balanced Sharing of Collusive Profits," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 345-371, September.
    4. Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick & Franck, Jens-Uwe, 2015. "Endogenous price commitment, sticky and leadership pricing: Evidence from the Italian petrol market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 32-48.
    5. Johannes Paha, 2012. "Using accounting data in cartel damage calculations: blessing or menace?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 241-263, October.
    6. Chen, Gang & Rytter, Niels G.M. & Jiang, Liping & Nielsen, Peter & Jensen, Lars, 2017. "Pre-announcements of price increase intentions in liner shipping spot markets," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 109-125.
    7. Shakun Datta Mago & Emmanuel Dechenaux, 2009. "Price leadership and firm size asymmetry: an experimental analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(3), pages 289-317, September.
    8. Kumar, Vikram & Marshall, Robert C. & Marx, Leslie M. & Samkharadze, Lily, 2015. "Buyer resistance for cartel versus merger," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 71-80.

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