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Actions Speak Louder than Words: Econometric Evidence to Target Tacit Collusion in Oligopolistic Markets

Author

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  • Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick
  • Franck, Jens-Uwe

Abstract

Tacit collusion reduces welfare comparably to explicit collusion but remains mostly unaddressed by antitrust enforcement which greatly depends on evidence of explicit communication. We propose to target specific elements of firms’ behavior that facilitate tacit collusion by providing quantitative evidence that links these actions to an anticompetitive market outcome. We apply our approach to incidents on the Italian gasoline market where the market leader unilaterally announced its commitment to a policy of sticky pricing and large price changes which facilitated price alignment and coordination of price changes. Antitrust policy has to distinguish such active promotion of a collusive strategy from passive (best response) alignment. Our results imply the necessity of stronger legal instruments which target unilateral conduct that aims at bringing about collusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick & Franck, Jens-Uwe, 2013. "Actions Speak Louder than Words: Econometric Evidence to Target Tacit Collusion in Oligopolistic Markets," Discussion Papers in Economics 16179, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:16179
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    2. Stephen Davies & Peter Ormosi & Martin Graffenberger, 2015. "Mergers after cartels: How markets react to cartel breakdown," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(3).
    3. Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick & Franck, Jens-Uwe, 2015. "Endogenous price commitment, sticky and leadership pricing: Evidence from the Italian petrol market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 32-48.
    4. Stephen Davies & Peter L. Ormosi & Martin Graffenberger, 2014. "Mergers after cartels: How markets react to cartel breakdown," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Competition Policy (CCP) 2014-01, Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    antitrust law; tacit collusion; oligopolistic competition; gasoline market;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices

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