IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/restud/v79y2012i2p778-811.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Robust Collusion with Private Information

Author

Listed:
  • David A. Miller

Abstract

The game-theoretic literature on collusion has been hard pressed to explain why a cartel should engage in price wars, without resorting to either impatience, symmetry restrictions, inability to communicate, or failure to optimize. This paper introduces a new explanation that relies on none of these assumptions: if the cartel's member firms have private information about their costs, price wars can be optimal in the face of complexity. Specifically, equilibria that are robust to pay-off irrelevant disruptions of the information environment generically cannot attain or approximate efficiency. An optimal robust equilibrium must allocate market shares inefficiently and may call for price wars under certain conditions. For a two-firm cartel, cost interdependence is a sufficient condition for price wars to arise in an optimal robust equilibrium. That optimal equilibria are inefficient generically applies not only to collusion games but also to the entire separable pay-off environment--a class that includes most typical economic models. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • David A. Miller, 2012. "Robust Collusion with Private Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 778-811.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:79:y:2012:i:2:p:778-811
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/restud/rdr035
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

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

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell & Chris Sanchirico, 2004. "Collusion and Price Rigidity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 317-349.
    2. Yuliy Sannikov & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2007. "Impossibility of Collusion under Imperfect Monitoring with Flexible Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1794-1823, December.
    3. Jonathan Levin, 2003. "Relational Incentive Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 835-857, June.
    4. Michihiro Kandori & Ichiro Obara, 2006. "Efficiency in Repeated Games Revisited: The Role of Private Strategies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 499-519, March.
    5. Green, Edward J & Porter, Robert H, 1984. "Noncooperative Collusion under Imperfect Price Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 87-100, January.
    6. Dirk Bergemann & Stephen Morris, 2005. "Robust Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1771-1813, November.
    7. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David I & Maskin, Eric, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 997-1039, September.
    8. Kyle Bagwell & Robert Staiger, 1997. "Collusion Over the Business Cycle," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 82-106, Spring.
    9. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell, 2008. "Collusion With Persistent Cost Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 493-540, May.
    10. Blume, Andreas & Heidhues, Paul, 2006. "Private monitoring in auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 131(1), pages 179-211, November.
    11. 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.
    12. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1992. "Bidding Rings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 579-599, June.
      • McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John., 1990. "Bidding Rings," Working Papers 726, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    13. Paul Milgrom & Ilya Segal, 2002. "Envelope Theorems for Arbitrary Choice Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 583-601, March.
    14. Philippe Jehiel & Moritz Meyer-ter-Vehn & Benny Moldovanu & William R. Zame, 2006. "The Limits of ex post Implementation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(3), pages 585-610, May.
    15. Olivier Compte, 1998. "Communication in Repeated Games with Imperfect Private Monitoring," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 597-626, May.
    16. Skrzypacz, Andrzej & Hopenhayn, Hugo, 2004. "Tacit collusion in repeated auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 153-169, January.
    17. Abreu, Dilip & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1986. "Optimal cartel equilibria with imperfect monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 251-269, June.
    18. Hurwicz, Leonid & Walker, Mark, 1990. "On the Generic Nonoptimality of Dominant-Strategy Allocation Mechanisms: A General Theorem That Includes Pure Exchange Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(3), pages 683-704, May.
    19. Michihiro Kandori & Hitoshi Matsushima, 1998. "Private Observation, Communication and Collusion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 627-652, May.
    20. Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-631, July.
    21. Claudio Mezzetti, 2004. "Mechanism Design with Interdependent Valuations: Efficiency," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1617-1626, September.
    22. Balder, Erik J., 1996. "On the Existence of Optimal Contract Mechanisms for Incomplete Information Principal-Agent Models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 133-148, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Yuliy Sannikov & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2007. "Impossibility of Collusion under Imperfect Monitoring with Flexible Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1794-1823, December.
    2. Drexl, Moritz & Kleiner, Andreas, 2015. "Optimal private good allocation: The case for a balanced budget," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 169-181.
    3. Blume, Andreas & Franco, April Mitchell & Heidhues, Paul, 2011. "Dynamic Coordination via Organizational Routines," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 355, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    4. Joao Correia-da-Silva, 2013. "Impossibility of market division with two-sided private information about production costs," FEP Working Papers 490, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    5. Susan Athey & Ilya Segal, 2013. "An Efficient Dynamic Mechanism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(6), pages 2463-2485, November.
    6. Martin, Alberto & Vergote, Wouter, 2008. "On the role of retaliation in trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 61-77, September.
    7. Kleiner, Andreas & Drexl, Moritz, 2013. "Why Voting? A Welfare Analysis," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79886, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Andrzej Skrzypacz & Juuso Toikka, 2015. "Mechanisms for Repeated Trade," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 252-293, November.
    9. Vinicius Carrasco & Gustavo Manso, 2006. "Syndication and Robust Collusion in Financial Markets," Textos para discussão 522, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    10. Yuichi Yamamoto, 2012. "Individual Learning and Cooperation in Noisy Repeated Games," PIER Working Paper Archive 12-044, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    11. Shao, Ran & Zhou, Lin, 2016. "Optimal allocation of an indivisible good," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 95-112.
    12. Yuichi Yamamoto, 2013. "Individual Learning and Cooperation in Noisy Repeated Games," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-038, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    13. Chan, Jimmy & Zhang, Wenzhang, 2015. "Collusion enforcement with private information and private monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 188-211.
    14. Leo, Greg, 2017. "Taking turns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 525-547.
    15. Martin, Alberto & Vergote, Wouter, 2004. "Antidumping: Welfare Enhancing Retaliation?," MPRA Paper 5416, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:oup:restud:v:79:y:2012:i:2:p:778-811. 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: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). 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.