Monopoly Behaviour with Speculative Storage
We analyze the effects of competitive storage when the production of the good is controlled by a monopolist. The existence of competitive storers serves to reduce the monopolist’s effective demand when speculators are selling and to increase it when they are buying. This results in the monopolist manipulating the frequency of stock-outs, and hence, the price-smoothing effects of competitive storage. We use a two-period model to show that there is a lower probability of a stock-out under a monopolist than in a perfectly competitive market. We find that there exist states of the world in which the monopolist prices higher on average than what would occur in the absence of speculators. We then extend the model to an infinite horizon to examine the implications for price volatility using collocation methods to approximate both the expected future price and the expected value function. We confirm that stock-outs occur less frequently under the monopolist, even though price is more volatile. We also demonstrate that while free entry by speculators does reduce the gap in price volatility, it does not remove it.
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