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Collusion in Growing and Shrinking Markets: Empirical Evidence from Experimental Duopolies

  • Klaus Abbink

    ()

  • Jordi Brandts

    ()

We study collusive behaviour in experimental duopolies that compete in prices under dynamic demand conditions. In one treatment the demand grows at a constant rate. In the other treatment the demand declines at another constant rate. The rates are chosen so that the evolution of the demand in one case is just the reverse in time than the one for the other case. We use a box-design demand function so that there are no issues of finding and co-ordinating on the collusive price. Contrary to game-theoretic reasoning, our results show that collusion is significantly larger when the demand shrinks than when it grows. We conjecture that the prospect of rapidly declining profit opportunities exerts a disciplining effect on firms that facilitates collusion and discourages deviation.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 648.05.

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Length: 20
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:648.05
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  1. Dufwenberg, M. & Gneezy, U., 1998. "Price Competition and Market COncentration: An Experimental Study," Papers 1998-08, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  2. Jose Apesteguia & Martin Dufwenberg & Reinhard Selten, 2007. "Blowing the Whistle," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 143-166, April.
  3. Motta,Massimo, 2004. "Competition Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521016919, 1.
  4. Abbink, Klaus & Brandts, Jordi, 2008. "24. Pricing in Bertrand competition with increasing marginal costs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-31, May.
  5. Offerman, T.J.S. & Potters, J.J.M. & Sonnemans, J., 2002. "Imitation and belief learning in an oligopoly experiment," Other publications TiSEM a6a771c5-31ba-4193-8f76-a, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  6. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Markets as Economizers of Information: Experimental Examination of the "Hayek Hypothesis"," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(2), pages 165-79, April.
  7. Isaac, R. Mark & Reynolds, Stanley S., 1992. "Schumpeterian competition in experimental markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 59-100, January.
  8. Abbink, Klaus & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 1996. "RatDemo - A Ready-to-Run Experiment in 99 Program Lines," Discussion Paper Serie B 354, University of Bonn, Germany.
  9. Reinhard Selten & Jose Apesteguia, 2002. "Experimentally Observed Imitation and Cooperation in Price Competition on the Circle," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse19_2002, University of Bonn, Germany.
  10. Robert Moir, 1998. "A Monte Carlo Analysis of the Fisher Randomization Technique: Reviving Randomization for Experimental Economists," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 87-100, June.
  11. Martin Dufwenberg & Uri Gneezy & Jacob Goeree & Rosemarie Nagel, 2007. "Price floors and competition," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 211-224, October.
  12. Motta,Massimo, 2004. "Competition Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521816632, 1.
  13. Reynolds, Stanley S & Isaac, R Mark, 1992. "Stochastic Innovation and Product Market Organization," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 525-45, October.
  14. Dastidar, Krishnendu Ghosh, 1995. "On the Existence of Pure Strategy Bertrand Equilibrium," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 19-32, January.
  15. Holt, Charles A & Langan, Loren W & Villamil, Anne P, 1986. "Market Power in Oral Double Auctions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(1), pages 107-23, January.
  16. Abbink, Klaus & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 1995. "RatImage - research Assistance Toolbox for Computer-Aided Human Behavior Experiments," Discussion Paper Serie B 325, University of Bonn, Germany.
  17. Theo Offerman & Jan Potters & Joep Sonnemans, 2002. "Imitation and Belief Learning in an Oligopoly Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 973-997.
  18. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1997. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly - An Experiment," Game Theory and Information 9707009, EconWPA, revised 22 Jul 1997.
  19. Abbink, Klaus & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 1997. "RatImage 3.30," Discussion Paper Serie B 417, University of Bonn, Germany.
  20. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 2004. "Two are few and four are many: number effects in experimental oligopolies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 435-446, April.
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