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Tacit collusion in the presence of cyclical demand and endogenous capacity levels

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  • Knittel, Christopher R.
  • Lepore, Jason J.

Abstract

We analyze tacit collusion in an industry characterized by cyclical demand and long-run scale decisions; firms face deterministic demand cycles and choose capacity levels prior to competing in prices. Our focus is on the nature of prices. We find that two types of price wars may exist. In one, collusion can involve periods of mixed-strategy price wars. In the other, consistent with the Rotemberg and Saloner (1986) definition of price wars, we show that collusive prices can also become counter-cyclical. We also establish pricing patterns with respect to the relative prices in booms and recessions. If the marginal cost of capacity is high enough, holding current demand constant, prices in the boom are generally lower than the prices in the recession; this reverses the results of Haltiwanger and Harrington (1991). In contrast, if the marginal cost of capacity is low enough, then prices in the boom are generally higher than the prices in the recession. For costs in an intermediate range, numerical examples are calculated to show specific pricing patterns.

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  • Knittel, Christopher R. & Lepore, Jason J., 2010. "Tacit collusion in the presence of cyclical demand and endogenous capacity levels," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 131-144, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:28:y:2010:i:2:p:131-144
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    3. Marcelo Resende & Rodrigo M. Zeidan, 2011. "Tacit Collusion under Imperfect Monitoring in the Canadian Manufacturing Industry: An Empirical Study," CESifo Working Paper Series 3623, CESifo.
    4. Heikki Peura & Derek W. Bunn, 2015. "Dynamic Pricing of Peak Production," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 63(6), pages 1262-1279, December.
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    6. Luke Garrod & Matthew Olczak, 2017. "Collusion Under Imperfect Monitoring with Asymmetric Firms," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 654-682, September.
    7. Gugler, Klaus & Weichselbaumer, Michael & Zulehner, Christine, 2020. "Employment behavior and the economic crisis: Evidence from winners and runners-up in procurement auctions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 182(C).
    8. Johannes Paha, 2013. "The Impact of Persistent Shocks and Concave Objective Functions on Collusive Behavior," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201328, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tacit collusion Capacity constraints Booms Busts;

    JEL classification:

    • L0 - Industrial Organization - - General
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L49 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Other

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