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Optimal Collusion under Cost Asymmetry

  • Jeanine Thal

    (Crest)

Cost asymmetry is generally thought to hinder collusion because a more efficient firm hasboth less to gain from collusion and less to fear from retaliation. Our paper reexamines thisconventional wisdom and characterizes optimal collusion without any prior restriction on theclass of strategies. We first stress that firms can ”collude” on retaliation schemes that maximallypunish even the most efficient firm. This implies that whenever collusion is sustainable undercost symmetry, some collusion is also sustainable under cost asymmetry; efficient collusion,however, remains more difficult to sustain when costs are asymmetric. Finally, we show that, inthe presence of side payments, cost asymmetry generally facilitates collusion.

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Paper provided by Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique in its series Working Papers with number 2005-36.

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Length: 35
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:crs:wpaper:2005-36
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  13. Kihlstrom, Richard & Vives, Xavier, 1992. "Collusion by Asymmetrically Informed Firms," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(2), pages 371-96, Summer.
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  25. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1991. "The Determination of Price and Output Quotas in a Heterogeneous Cartel," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(4), pages 767-92, November.
  26. Athey, Susan & Bagwell, Kyle, 2001. "Optimal Collusion with Private Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 428-65, Autumn.
  27. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
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  29. Compte, Olivier & Jenny, Frederic & Rey, Patrick, 2002. "Capacity constraints, mergers and collusion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
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