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Forward trading and collusion in oligopoly

  • Matti Liski
  • Juan-Pablo Montero

We consider an infinitely-repeated oligopoly in which at each period firms not only serve the spot market by either competing in prices or quantities but also have the opportunity to trade forward contracts. Contrary to the pro-competitive results of finite-horizon models, we find that the possibility of forward trading allows firms to sustain collusive profits that otherwise would not be possible. The result holds both for price and quantity competition and follows because (collusive) contracting of future sales is more effective in deterring deviations from the collusive plan than in inducing the previously identified pro-competitive effects.

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Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research in its series Working Papers with number 0412.

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Date of creation: May 2004
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Handle: RePEc:mee:wpaper:0412
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  1. David M. Newbery, 1998. "Competition, Contracts, and Entry in the Electricity Spot Market," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 726-749, Winter.
  2. Allaz, Blaise, 1992. "Oligopoly, uncertainty and strategic forward transactions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 297-308, June.
  3. Abreu, Dilip, 1988. "On the Theory of Infinitely Repeated Games with Discounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 383-96, March.
  4. Green, Richard, 1999. "The Electricity Contract Market in England and Wales," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 107-24, March.
  5. Mahenc, P. & Salanie, F., 2004. "Softening competition through forward trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 282-293, June.
  6. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1984. "The Fat-Cat Effect, the Puppy-Dog Ploy, and the Lean and Hungry Look," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 361-66, May.
  7. Paul Joskow, 2003. "Electricity Sector Restructuring and Competition: Lessons Learned," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 40(121), pages 548-558.
  8. Hugh Rudnick & Juan-Pablo Montero, 2002. "Second Generation Electricity Reforms in Latin America and the California Paradigm," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 159-172, June.
  9. Christopher R. Knittel & Victor Stango, 2003. "Price Ceilings as Focal Points for Tacit Collusion: Evidence from Credit Cards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1703-1729, December.
  10. Abreu, Dilip, 1986. "Extremal equilibria of oligopolistic supergames," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 191-225, June.
  11. Juan-Pablo Montero & Hugh Rudnick, 2002. "Second Generation Electricity Reforms in Latin America and the California Paradigm," Documentos de Trabajo 216, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  12. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
  13. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, June.
  14. Allaz Blaise & Vila Jean-Luc, 1993. "Cournot Competition, Forward Markets and Efficiency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 1-16, February.
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