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What Collusion? Unilateral Market Power as a Catalyst for Countercyclical Markups

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  • Bart Wilson

Abstract

This paper presents and tests a simple model of competitive and unilateral market power regimes that yields countercyclical markups. Following a decrease in demand in the short run, capacity-constrained firms may have a strong incentive not to lower their prices to the new competitive price. Demand shocks may introduce market power into a previously competitive market. Experimental posted offer markets support this conjecture with complete information on the market structure. With only private information, there appears to be a hysteresis effect concerning supracompetitive prices, i.e., markets with a history of supracompetitive pricing continue to generate supracompetitive prices following demand shocks. However, competitive markets also remain competitive following demand shocks when firms only have private information on costs and capacities. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Suggested Citation

  • Bart Wilson, 1998. "What Collusion? Unilateral Market Power as a Catalyst for Countercyclical Markups," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(2), pages 133-145, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:1:y:1998:i:2:p:133-145
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1009972125288
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Douglas D. Davis & Charles A. Holt, 1996. "Price rigidities and institutional variations in markets with posted prices (*)," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 9(1), pages 63-80.
    2. Kyle Bagwell & Robert Staiger, 1997. "Collusion Over the Business Cycle," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 82-106, Spring.
    3. Levitan, Richard & Shubik, Martin, 1972. "Price Duopoly and Capacity Constraints," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(1), pages 111-122, February.
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    6. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
    7. Michihiro Kandori, 1991. "Correlated Demand Shocks and Price Wars During Booms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 171-180.
    8. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-384, March.
    9. Davis, Douglas D. & Holt, Charles A., 2008. "The Exercise of Market Power in Laboratory Experiments," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    10. Mestelman, Stuart & Welland, Douglas, 1994. "Price Flexibility and Market Performance in Experimental Markets," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 4(1), pages 105-129, January.
    11. Jon Ketcham & Vernon L. Smith & Arlington W. Williams, 1984. "A Comparison of Posted-Offer and Double-Auction Pricing Institutions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(4), pages 595-614.
    12. David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Abdullah Yavas, 2001. "Impossibility of a Competitive Equilibrium in the Real Estate Brokerage Industry," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 21(3), pages 187-200.
    2. Davis, Douglas D. & Wilson, Bart J., 2005. "Differentiated product competition and the Antitrust Logit Model: an experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 89-113, May.
    3. Davis, Douglas D. & Wilson, Bart J., 2008. "Strategic buyers, horizontal mergers and synergies: An experimental investigation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 643-661, May.
    4. Erik O. Kimbrough & Andrew Smyth, 2017. "Testing the Boundaries of the Double Auction," Discussion Papers dp17-05, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
    5. Douglas Davis & Bart Wilson, 2006. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion, Mergers and Synergies: An Experimental Investigation of Differentiated Product Competition," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(2), pages 169-194.
    6. repec:eee:jeborg:v:150:y:2018:i:c:p:372-396 is not listed on IDEAS

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