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State aid and tacit collusion

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  • Christoph Bertsch
  • Claudio Calcagno
  • Mark Le Quement

Abstract

Both literature and policy debate on State aid or government subsidies have focused on the trade-off between the potential ine¢ ciencies caused by state intervention (inefficient allocation of resources, moral hazard) and the potential gains from intervention (whether related to the resolution of market failures or to the achievement of some dimension of social equity). The debate however has ignored another important negative e¤ect of State aid: governments, by setting up aid schemes to ailing firms, may increase the likelihood of (tacit) collusion in an industry characterised by idiosyncratic shocks. Indeed, in a repeated-game setting, a systematic bailout regime increases the expected profits of a firm from cooperation and simultaneously raises the probability that competitors will still be in business to carry out punishment against cheaters. Despite the generality of the model and of its key insight, we study this problem through an application to the banking sector, as it has recently been subject of much attention within the context of the ongoing economic crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Bertsch & Claudio Calcagno & Mark Le Quement, 2009. "State aid and tacit collusion," Economics Working Papers ECO2009/36, European University Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2009/36
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mathias Dewatripont & Paul Seabright, 2006. ""Wasteful" Public Spending and State Aid Control," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 513-522, 04-05.
    2. Repullo, Rafael, 2004. "Capital requirements, market power, and risk-taking in banking," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 156-182, April.
    3. Perotti, Enrico C. & Suarez, Javier, 2002. "Last bank standing: What do I gain if you fail?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1599-1622, October.
    4. Timothy Besley & Paul Seabright, 1999. "The effects and policy implications of state aids to industry: an economic analysis," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 14(28), pages 13-53, April.
    5. Allen, Franklin & Gale, Douglas, 2004. "Competition and Financial Stability," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(3), pages 453-480, June.
    6. Collie, David R., 2000. "State aid in the European Union: The prohibition of subsidies in an integrated market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 867-884, August.
    7. Martin Stephen & Valbonesi Paola, 2008. "Equilibrium State Aid in Integrating Markets," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-39, August.
    8. Kevin C. Murdock & Thomas F. Hellmann & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2000. "Liberalization, Moral Hazard in Banking, and Prudential Regulation: Are Capital Requirements Enough?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 147-165, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subsidies; dynamic oligopoly; government policy; banking;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices

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