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Cartel contract duration: empirical evidence from inter-war international cartels


  • Valerie Y. Suslow


A formal cartel organization sets up a multilateral relationship between firms in a given industry. While standard contracting literature has studied bilateral monopoly relationships in detail, there are horizontal relationships, like cartels, that also have contractual aspects. To shed light on how these contracts work, this paper takes a sample of legal formal cartel contracts and examines their structure and durability. Borrowing from industrial organization theories and transaction cost theories, the empirical model tests for the importance of demand uncertainty and cartel organizational characteristics in determining cartel contract duration. The results show that the more uncertain the environment within which the cartel operates, the shorter the expected cartel duration. Other industry structure characteristics and cartel organization variables included in the empirical model have a much weaker influence on duration. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Valerie Y. Suslow, 2005. "Cartel contract duration: empirical evidence from inter-war international cartels," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(5), pages 705-744, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:14:y:2005:i:5:p:705-744

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nathan ROSENBERG, 2009. "Why do firms do basic research (with their own money)?," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Studies On Science And The Innovation Process Selected Works of Nathan Rosenberg, chapter 11, pages 225-234 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    Cited by:

    1. Bhattacharjea, Aditya & Sinha, Uday Bhanu, 2015. "Multi-market collusion with territorial allocation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 42-50.
    2. Prokop, Jacek, 2011. "Powstawanie i stabilność karteli heterogenicznych
      [The emergence and stability of heterogeneous cartels]
      ," MPRA Paper 43712, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Benchekroun, Hassan & Gaudet, Gerard & Van Long, Ngo, 2006. "Temporary natural resource cartels," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 663-674, November.
    4. Symeonidis, George, 1999. "In Which Industries Is Collusion More Likely?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2301, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Jaime R. Marquez, 1992. "Life expectancy of international cartels: an empirical analysis," International Finance Discussion Papers 439, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Levenstein, Margaret C. & Sivadasan, Jagadeesh & Suslow, Valerie Y., 2015. "The effect of competition on trade: Evidence from the collapse of international cartels," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 56-70.
    7. Roman Inderst & Frank Maier-Rigaud & Ulrich Schwalbe, 2013. "Umbrella Effects," Working Papers 2013-ECO-17, IESEG School of Management.
    8. Zhou, Jun, 2011. "A Note on “Modeling the Birth and Death of Cartels with An Application to Evaluating Competition Policy†by Harrington and Chang (2009)," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 362, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    9. Michael A. Utton, 2011. "Cartels and Economic Collusion," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14208.
    10. Margaret C. Levenstein & Valerie Y. Suslow, 2002. "What Determines Cartel Success?," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2002-01, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    11. Gérard Gaudet, 2007. "Natural resource economics under the rule of Hotelling," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1033-1059, November.
    12. Chan, Jimmy & Zhang, Wenzhang, 2015. "Collusion enforcement with private information and private monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 188-211.
    13. Jesper Fredborg Hurić-Larsen & Angela Münch, 2016. "Competition and Environmental Policy in the EU: Old Foes, New Friends?," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 137-153, June.
    14. Vivek Ghosal & D. Daniel Sokol, 2016. "Policy Innovations, Political Preferences, and Cartel Prosecutions," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 48(4), pages 405-432, June.
    15. Fatih Cemil ÖZBUĞDAY & Erik BROUWER, 2016. "Measuring the Extent of European State Aid Control: An Econometric Analysis of the European Commission Decisions," Sosyoekonomi Journal, Sosyoekonomi Society, issue 24(30).
    16. Huric Larsen, Jesper Fredborg, 2014. "The collusion incentive constraint," MPRA Paper 58449, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Kühn, Kai-Uwe, 2006. "How Market Fragmentation Can Facilitate Collusion," CEPR Discussion Papers 5948, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Hellwig, Michael & Hüschelrath, Kai, 2017. "When do firms leave cartels? Determinants and the impact on cartel survival," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-002, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    19. Hyytinen, Ari & Steen, Frode & Toivanen, Otto, 2012. "Anatomy of Cartel Contracts," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 25/2012, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    20. Bolotova, Yuliya V., 2009. "Cartel overcharges: An empirical analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 321-341, May.
    21. Robert M. Feinberg & Hyunchul Kim & Minsoo Park, 2016. "The Determinants of Cartel Duration in Korea," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 48(4), pages 433-448, June.

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