A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Business Cycles and Price Wars During Booms
This paper studies implicitly colluding oligopolists facing fluctuating demand. The credible threat of future punishments provides the discipline that facilitates collusion. However, we find that the temptation to unilaterally deflate from the collusive outcome is often greater when demand is high. To moderate this temptation,the optimizing oligopoly reduces its profitability at such times,resulting in lower prices. If the oligopolists' output is an input to other sectors, their output may increase too. This explains the co-movements of outputs which characterize business cycles. The behavior of the railroads in the 1880's, the automobile industry in the 1950's and the cyclical behavior of cement prices and price-cost margins support our theory. (J.E.L. Classification numbers:020, 130, 610).
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|Date of creation:||Jul 1984|
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"Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information,"
367, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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NBER Working Papers
0975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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- James W. Friedman, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(1), pages 1-12.
- Long, John B, Jr & Plosser, Charles I, 1983. "Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-69, February.
- Robert H. Porter, 1983. "A Study of Cartel Stability: The Joint Executive Committee, 1880-1886," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 301-314, Autumn.
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