IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The JEC Revisited: Did Debt Undermine Stability?


  • Peter Grossman


  • Kathy Gjerde



The Joint Executive Committee (JEC), one of the most studied cartels in all of economics, was at best partially successful at maintaining collusion. The railroad cartel faced frequent breakdowns and re-contracting efforts. This paper considers the effects that large capital debt may have had on the members of the JEC. The JEC is compared to the express cartel of the period in which all firms were creditors. The latter had no breakdowns during the same period. It is shown through a small modification in an oligopolistic supergame that debt-burdened firms are less likely to maintain a stable cartel agreement than a cartel of creditors, a result that is consistent with the experience of these two cartels. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2009

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Grossman & Kathy Gjerde, 2009. "The JEC Revisited: Did Debt Undermine Stability?," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 37(1), pages 65-71, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:37:y:2009:i:1:p:65-71
    DOI: 10.1007/s11293-008-9160-8

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shapiro, Carl, 1989. "Theories of oligopoly behavior," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 329-414 Elsevier.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Cartels; Oligopolistic supergames; The Joint Executive Committee; The railroad express; N71; L13; L60;

    JEL classification:

    • N71 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:37:y:2009:i:1:p:65-71. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.