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Communication, Renegotiation, and the Scope for Collusion

Author

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  • Cooper, David J.
  • Kühn, Kai-Uwe

Abstract

We use experiments to analyze what type of communication is most effective in achieving cooperation in a simple collusion game. Consistent with the existing literature on communication and collusion, even minimal communication leads to a short run increase in collusion. However, in a limited message-space treatment where subjects cannot communicate contingent strategies, this initial burst of collusion rapidly collapses. When unlimited pre-game communication is allowed via a chat window, an initial decline in collusion is reversed over time. Content analysis is used to identify multiple channels by which communication improves collusion in this setting. Explicit threats to punish cheating prove to be by far the most important factor to successfully establish collusion, consistent with the existing theory of collusion. However, collusion is even more likely when we allow for renegotiation, contrary to standard theories of renegotiation. What appears critical for the success of collusion with renegotiation is that cheaters are often admonished in strong terms. Allowing renegotiation therefore appears to increase collusion by allowing for an inexpensive and highly effective form of punishment.

Suggested Citation

  • Cooper, David J. & Kühn, Kai-Uwe, 2009. "Communication, Renegotiation, and the Scope for Collusion," CEPR Discussion Papers 7563, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7563
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rau, Holger & Clemens, Georg, 2014. "Do Leniency Policies facilitate Collusion? Experimental Evidence," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100509, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Andersson, Ola & Wengström, Erik, 2012. "Credible communication and cooperation: Experimental evidence from multi-stage Games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 207-219.
    3. Moellers, Claudia & Normann, Hans-Theo & Snyder, Christopher M., 2017. "Communication in vertical markets: Experimental evidence," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 214-258.
    4. Waichman, Israel & Requate, Till & Siang, Ch’ng Kean, 2014. "Communication in Cournot competition: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 1-16.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    collusion; communication; experiments; guilt aversion; renegotiation; trust;

    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
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices

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