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Cartel formation and pricing: The effect of managerial decision-making rules


  • Gillet, Joris
  • Schram, Arthur
  • Sonnemans, Joep


We experimentally investigate how the managerial decision-making process affects choices in a Bertrand pricing game with an opportunity to form non-binding cartels. To do so we compare the effects of three decision-making rules for the firm (decisions by CEOs, majority rule and consensus) to each other and to decisions in a benchmark consisting of single-individual firms. It has been argued elsewhere that groups behave more competitively than individuals. In this setting this predicts that for all three decision-making rules we should observe fewer cartels and lower prices. This is not what we find. For the formation of cartels, there are no differences across treatments. For prices asked, we find that first, cartels lead to higher prices in all treatments, despite the fact that they are non-binding. Second, the decision-making rules strongly affect the prices asked. One thing that stands out is that firms run by CEOs ask higher prices (i.e., defect less often from the cartel) than observed in the other treatments.

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  • Gillet, Joris & Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 2011. "Cartel formation and pricing: The effect of managerial decision-making rules," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 126-133, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:29:y:2011:i:1:p:126-133

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Han, Johann & Kairies-Schwarz, Nadja & Vomhof, Markus, 2016. "Quality competition and hospital mergers: An experiment," Ruhr Economic Papers 609, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    2. Müller, Wieland & Tan, Fangfang, 2013. "Who acts more like a game theorist? Group and individual play in a sequential market game and the effect of the time horizon," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 658-674.
    3. Gomez-Martinez, Francisco, 2017. "Partial Cartels and Mergers with Heterogenous Firms: Experimental Evidence," EconStor Preprints 169380, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    4. Carsten J. Crede & Liang Lu, 2016. "The effects of endogenous enforcement on strategic uncertainty and cartel deterrence," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 16-08, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    5. Gomez-Martinez, Francisco, 2016. "Partial Cartels and Mergers with Heterogeneous Firms: Experimental Evidence," MPRA Paper 81132, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Jul 2017.
    6. Gillet, Joris, 2017. "Voting For a Cartel as a Sign of Cooperativeness," MPRA Paper 82160, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. 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).
    8. Max Albert & Andreas Hildenbrand, 2016. "Industrial Organization and Experimental Economics: How to Learn from Laboratory Experiments," Homo Oeconomicus: Journal of Behavioral and Institutional Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 135-156, August.


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