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Asymmetric Cartels - a Theory of Ring Leaders

Author

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  • Ganslandt, Mattias
  • Persson, Lars
  • Vasconcelos, Helder

Abstract

Many convicted cartels have a leader which is substantially larger than its rivals. In a setting where firms face indivisible costs of collusion, we show that: (i) firms may have an incentive to merge so as to create asymmetric market structures since this enables the merged firm to cover the indivisible cost associated with cartel leadership; and (ii) forbidding mergers leading to symmetric market structures can induce mergers leading to asymmetric market structures with a higher risk of collusion. Thus, these results have implications for the practice of the current EU and US merger policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Ganslandt, Mattias & Persson, Lars & Vasconcelos, Helder, 2008. "Asymmetric Cartels - a Theory of Ring Leaders," CEPR Discussion Papers 6829, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6829
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Motta,Massimo, 2004. "Competition Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521016919.
    2. Horn, Henrik & Persson, Lars, 2001. "Endogenous mergers in concentrated markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(8), pages 1213-1244, September.
    3. James W. Friedman, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(1), pages 1-12.
    4. Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars, 2012. "Entrepreneurial innovations, competition and competition policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 488-506.
    5. Verboven, Frank, 1997. "Collusive behavior with heterogeneous firms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 121-136, May.
    6. Joseph E. Harrington, Jr, 2006. "How Do Cartels Operate?," Economics Working Paper Archive 531, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    7. Kjell Erik Lommerud & Odd Rune Straume & Lars Sørgard, 2006. "National versus international mergers in unionized oligopoly," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 212-233, March.
    8. Horn, Henrik & Persson, Lars, 2001. "The equilibrium ownership of an international oligopoly," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 307-333, April.
    9. 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.
    10. Rothschild, R., 1999. "Cartel stability when costs are heterogeneous," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 717-734, July.
    11. Compte, Olivier & Jenny, Frederic & Rey, Patrick, 2002. "Capacity constraints, mergers and collusion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
    12. Harrington, Joseph E., 2006. "How Do Cartels Operate?," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 2(1), pages 1-105, August.
    13. Helder Vasconcelos, 2005. "Tacit Collusion, Cost Asymmetries, and Mergers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(1), pages 39-62, Spring.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. de Mesnard, Louis, 2009. "Is the French mobile phone cartel really a cartel?," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 663-677, December.
    2. Fumagalli, Eileen & Nilssen, Tore, 2008. "Waiting to Merge," Memorandum 13/2008, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    3. Bos Iwan & Wandschneider Frederick, 2011. "Cartel Ringleaders and the Corporate Leniency Program," Research Memorandum 038, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cartels; Collusion; Cost Asymmetries; Merger Policy; Ring Leader;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices

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