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Testing Game-Theoretic Models of Price Fixing Behaviour

This paper analyses price fixing by the Joint Executive Committee railroad cartel from 1880 to 1886 and develops tests of two game-theoretic models of tacit collusion. The first model, due to Abreu, Pearce and Stacchetti (1986), predicts that price will switch across regimes according to a Markov process. The second model, by Rotemberg and Saloner (1986), concludes that price wars are more likely in periods of high industry demand. Switching regressions are used to model the firms? shifting between collusive and punishment behaviour. The main econometric novelty introduced in this paper is that misclassification probabilities are allowed to vary endogenously over time. The JEC data set is expanded to include measures of grain production to be shipped and availability of substitute transportation services. The findings cast doubt on the applicability of the Rotemberg and Saloner model to the JEC railroad cartel, while they confirm the Markovian prediction of the Abreu et al model.

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Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Econometrics Paper Series with number /1997/324.

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Date of creation: Mar 1997
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stiecm:/1997/324
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

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  1. Lee, Lung-Fei & Porter, Robert H, 1984. "Switching Regression Models with Imperfect Sample Separation Information-With an Application on Cartel Stability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 391-418, March.
  2. Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1147, David K. Levine.
  3. Cosslett, Stephen R. & Lee, Lung-Fei, 1985. "Serial correlation in latent discrete variable models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 79-97, January.
  4. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Vassilis A. Hajivassiliou, 1986. "Two Misspecification Tests for the Simple Switching Regressions Disequilibrium Model," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 792, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Fair, Ray C & Jaffee, Dwight M, 1972. "Methods of Estimation for Markets in Disequilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(3), pages 497-514, May.
  7. Goldfelfd, Stephen M. & Quandt, Richard E., 1975. "Estimation in a disequilibrium model and the value of information," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 325-348, November.
  8. Michael H. Riordan, 1985. "Imperfect Information and Dynamic Conjectural Variations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 41-50, Spring.
  9. Vassilis A. Hajivassiliou & Daniel L. McFadden, 1998. "The Method of Simulated Scores for the Estimation of LDV Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 863-896, July.
  10. Berry, Steven & Briggs, Hugh, 1988. "A non-parametric test of a first-order Markov process for regimes in a non-cooperatively collusive industry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 73-77.
  11. 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.
  12. Nelson, Forrest D., 1977. "Censored regression models with unobserved, stochastic censoring thresholds," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 309-327, November.
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