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Cartel Enforcement with Uncertainty about Costs

  • Cramton, Peter C
  • Palfrey, Thomas R

What cartel agreements are possible when firms have private information about production costs? For private cost uncertainty, the authors characterize the set of cartel agreements that can be supported, recognizing incentive and participation constraints. If defection results in either Cournot or Bertrand competition, the incentive problem in large cartels is severe enough to prevent the cartel from achieving the monopoly outcome. However, if the cartel agreement requires less than unanimous ratification by the member firms, then the incentive problem can be overcome in large cartels. With common cost uncertainty, perfect collusion is possible in large cartels, regardless of the ratification rule. Copyright 1990 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

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Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 31 (1990)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 17-47

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:31:y:1990:i:1:p:17-47
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