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The Economics of Collusion: Cartels and Bidding Rings

Author

Listed:
  • Marshall, Robert C.

    () (Pennsylvania State University)

  • Marx, Leslie M.

    () (Fuqua School of Business at Duke University)

Abstract

Explicit collusion is an agreement among competitors to suppress rivalry that relies on interfirm communication and/or transfers. Rivalry between competitors erodes profits; the suppression of rivalry through collusion is one avenue by which firms can enhance profits. Many cartels and bidding rings function for years in a stable and peaceful manner despite the illegality of their agreements and incentives for deviation by their members. In The Economics of Collusion, Robert Marshall and Leslie Marx offer an examination of collusive behavior: what it is, why it is profitable, how it is implemented, and how it might be detected. Marshall and Marx, who have studied collusion extensively for two decades, begin with three narratives: the organization and implementation of a cartel, the organization and implementation of a bidding ring, and a parent company’s efforts to detect collusion by its divisions. These accounts--fictitious, but rooted in the inner workings and details from actual cases--offer a novel and engaging way for the reader to understand the basics of collusive behavior. The narratives are followed by detailed economic analyses of cartels, bidding rings, and detection. The narratives offer an engaging entrée to the more rigorous economic discussion that follows. The book is accessible to any reader who understands basic economic reasoning. Mathematical material is flagged with asterisks.

Suggested Citation

  • Marshall, Robert C. & Marx, Leslie M., 2012. "The Economics of Collusion: Cartels and Bidding Rings," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262017326, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262017326
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    Cited by:

    1. Yu Awaya & Vijay Krishna, 2016. "On Communication and Collusion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(2), pages 285-315, February.
    2. John Asker & Allan Collard-Wexler & Jan De Loecker, 2017. "Market Power, Production (Mis)Allocation and OPEC," NBER Working Papers 23801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Harrington, Joseph E. & Hernan Gonzalez, Roberto & Kujal, Praveen, 2016. "The relative efficacy of price announcements and express communication for collusion: Experimental findings," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 251-264.
    4. Yao Amber Li & Joseph Kaboski & Wyatt Brooks, 2016. "Agglomeration and (the Lack of) Competition," 2016 Meeting Papers 1697, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. H. Peter Boswijk & Maurice J.G. Bun & Maarten Pieter Schinkel, 2016. "Cartel dating," UvA-Econometrics Working Papers 16-04, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Dept. of Econometrics.
    6. Saitis, Athanasios, 2013. "Kartellbekämpfung und interne Kartellstrukturen: Ein netzwerktheoretischer Ansatz," FZID Discussion Papers 85-2013, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
    7. Wyatt J. Brooks & Joseph P. Kaboski & Yao Amber Li, 2016. "Growth Policy, Agglomeration, and (the Lack of) Competition," NBER Working Papers 22947, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Eckert, Andrew & Klumpp, Tilman & Su, Xuejuan, 2016. "An Equilibrium Selection Theory of Monopolization," Working Papers 2016-13, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    9. repec:kap:jincot:v:17:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10842-017-0246-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Harrington, Joseph E. & Hüschelrath, Kai & Laitenberger, Ulrich, 2016. "Rent sharing to control non-cartel supply in the German cement market," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-025, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    11. repec:spr:jogath:v:46:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00182-017-0569-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Flavio Delbono & Gemma Dipoppa & Luca Lambertini & Carlo Reggiani, 2017. "A Single Espresso, Please! Rationalizing Espresso Price Dispersion Across Italian Cities," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 465-478, December.
    13. van den Berg, Anita & Bos, Iwan, 2017. "Collusion in a price-quantity oligopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, pages 159-185.
    14. Harrington, Joseph E., 2017. "A theory of collusion with partial mutual understanding," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 140-158.
    15. Lorentziadis, Panos L., 2016. "Optimal bidding in auctions from a game theory perspective," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 248(2), pages 347-371.
    16. Kaplan, Todd R. & Zamir, Shmuel, 2015. "Advances in Auctions," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, Elsevier.
    17. Bedri Kamil Onur Tas, 2017. "Collusion Detection in Public Procurement with Limited Information," Working Papers 1127, Economic Research Forum, revised 08 Oct 2017.
    18. Aniol Llorente-Saguer & Ro’i Zultan, 2014. "Auction Mechanisms And Bidder Collusion: Bribes, Signals And Selection," Working Papers 1406, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
    19. H. Peter Boswijk & Maurice J.G. Bun & Maarten Pieter Schinkel, 2016. "Cartel Dating," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-092/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    20. Salvatore Piccolo & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2014. "Debt, Managers and Cartels," CSEF Working Papers 365, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    21. Jun Zhou, 2016. "The dynamics of leniency application and the knock-on effect of cartel enforcement," Working Papers 13042, Bruegel.
    22. Hubert Buch-Hansen & Clement Levallois, 2015. "The Scale and Geography of Collusion in the European Market: A Longitudinal View," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 737-752, July.
    23. Andrei Y. Shastitko & Svetlana V. Golovanova, 2014. "Collusion in markets characterized by one large buyer: lessons learned from an antitrust case in Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 49/EC/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    24. McAdams, David, 2015. "On the benefits of dynamic bidding when participation is costly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 959-972.
    25. Leslie M. Marx & Claudio Mezzetti & Robert C. Marshall, 2015. "Antitrust Leniency with Multiproduct Colluders," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 205-240, August.

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    Keywords

    econometrics; collusion; statistics; management;

    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • M1 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration

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