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Conspiracies and secret price discounts in the marketplace: Evidence from field experiments

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  • John List
  • Michael Price

Abstract

We explore collusion by using the tools of experimental economics in a naturally occurring marketplace. We report that competitive price theory adequately organizes data in multilateral decentralized bargaining markets without conspiratorial opportunities. When conspiratorial opportunities are allowed and contract prices are perfectly observed, prices (quantities) are considerably above (below) competitive levels. When sellers receive imperfect price signals, outcomes are intermediate to those of competitive markets and collusive markets with full information. Finally, experienced buyers serve as a catalyst to thwart attempts by sellers to engage in anticompetitive pricing: in periods where experienced agents transact in the market, average transaction prices are below those realized in periods where only inexperienced agents execute trades.

Suggested Citation

  • John List & Michael Price, 2005. "Conspiracies and secret price discounts in the marketplace: Evidence from field experiments," Framed Field Experiments 00115, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:framed:00115
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    Cited by:

    1. Al-Ubaydli, Omar & Boettke, Peter, 2010. "Markets as economizers of information: Field experimental examination of the “Hayek Hypothesis”," MPRA Paper 27660, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. John A. List, 2014. "Using Field Experiments to Change the Template of How We Teach Economics," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(2), pages 81-89, June.
    3. Jonathan E. Alevy & Craig E. Landry & John A. List, 2015. "Field Experiments On The Anchoring Of Economic Valuations," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(3), pages 1522-1538, July.
    4. Jonathan E. Alevy & Michael K. Price, 2012. "Advice and Fictive Learning: The Pricing of Assets in the Laboratory," Working Papers 2012-07, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.
    5. Hallsworth, Michael & List, John A. & Metcalfe, Robert D. & Vlaev, Ivo, 2017. "The behavioralist as tax collector: Using natural field experiments to enhance tax compliance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 14-31.
    6. Christoph Engel, 2015. "Tacit Collusion: The Neglected Experimental Evidence," Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 12(3), pages 537-577, September.
    7. List, John A. & Neilson, William S. & Price, Michael K., 2016. "The effects of group composition in a strategic environment: Evidence from a field experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 67-85.
    8. Rocco Caferra & Gabriele Tedeschi & Andrea Morone, 2023. "Agents interaction and price dynamics: evidence from the laboratory," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 18(2), pages 251-274, April.
    9. Jonathan E. Alevy & Michael K. Price, 2017. "Advice in the marketplace: a laboratory study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(1), pages 156-180, March.
    10. Levitt, Steven D. & List, John A., 2009. "Field experiments in economics: The past, the present, and the future," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-18, January.
    11. Kai Andree & John S. Heywood & Mike Schwan & Zheng Wang, 2018. "A Spatial Model Of Cartel Stability: The Influence Of Production Cost Convexity," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 298-311, July.
    12. Honda, Hidehito & Ogawa, Midori & Murakoshi, Takuma & Masuda, Tomohiro & Utsumi, Ken & Park, Sora & Kimura, Atsushi & Nei, Daisuke & Wada, Yuji, 2015. "Effect of visual aids and individual differences of cognitive traits in judgments on food safety," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 33-40.
    13. Jeffrey Flory & Uri Gneezy & Kenneth Leonard & John List, 2012. "Sex, competitiveness, and investment in offspring: On the origin of preferences," Artefactual Field Experiments 00072, The Field Experiments Website.

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