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How Much Collusion. A Meta-Analysis On Oligopoly Experiments

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  • Christoph Engel

    () (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)

Abstract

Oligopoly has been among the first topics in the experimental economics. Over half a century, some 150 papers have been published. Each individual paper was interested in demonstrating one effect. But in order to do so, experimenters had to specify many more parameters. That way they have generated a huge body of evidence, untapped thus far. This meta-analysis makes this evidence available. More than 100 of the papers lend themselves to calculating an index of collusion. The data bank behind this paper covers some 700 different settings. The experimental results may be normalised as a percentage of the span between the Walrasian and the Pareto outcomes. The same way, results may be expressed as a percentage of the distance between the Nash and the Pareto outcomes. For each and every of the parameters, these two indices make it possible to answer two questions: how far is the market outcome away from the competitive equilibrium? And how good is the Nash prediction? Most importantly, however, the meta-analysis sheds light on how features of the experimental setting interact with each other. Most main effects and many interaction effects are indeed statistically significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Engel, 2006. "How Much Collusion. A Meta-Analysis On Oligopoly Experiments," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2006_27, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  • Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2006_27
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Vital Anderhub & Werner Güth & Ulrich Kamecke & Hans-Theo Normann, 2003. "Capacity Choices and Price Competition in Experimental Markets," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(1), pages 27-52, June.
    2. Dan Alger, 1987. "Laboratory Tests of Equilibrium Predictions with Disequilibrium Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(1), pages 105-145.
    3. Benson, Bruce L. & Faminow, M. D., 1988. "The impact of experience on prices and profits in experimental duopoly markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 345-365, June.
    4. Allen, Beth & Hellwig, Martin, 1986. "Price-Setting Firms and the Oligopolistic Foundations of Perfect Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 387-392, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    oligopoly; collusion; unilateral effect; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices

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