IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Is Cartelisation Profitable? A Case Study of the Rhenish Westphalian Coal Syndicate, 1893-1913

  • Thorsten Lübbers


    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)

Registered author(s):

    We examine the effect of one of the presumably most powerful cartels ever on the profitability of its members. More precisely, we consider the Rhenish-Westphalian Coal Syndicate, a coal cartel that operated in Imperial Germany in the late 19th and early 20th century, using a newly constructed dataset and two different methodological approaches. At first, we employ event study methodology to asses the reaction of the stock market to the foundation of the cartel and two major revisions of its original contract. Furthermore, we look at different performance measures calculated from accounting and financial data in a dynamic panel data framework. Overall, our results suggest that the investigated cartel had no significant effect on the profitabil-ity of its members. However, we also find that it was able to stabilise coal prices and powerful enough to ensure that on average, prices were set high enough to avert negative repercussions on company performance.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in its series Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods with number 2009_09.

    in new window

    Date of creation: Mar 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2009_09
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10 - D- 53113 Bonn
    Phone: +49-(0)228 / 91416-0
    Fax: +49-(0)228 / 91416-55
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Robert G. Chambers & John Quiggin, 2003. "Price Stabilization and the Risk-Averse Firm," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(2), pages 336-347.
    2. Sproul, Michael F, 1993. "Antitrust and Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 741-54, August.
    3. Sanford J. Grossman & Oliver D. Hart, 1982. "Corporate Financial Structure and Managerial Incentives," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Information and Uncertainty, pages 107-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521810203 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Burhop, Carsten & Wolff, Guntram B., 2005. "A Compromise Estimate of German Net National Product, 1851 1913, and its Implications for Growth and Business Cycles," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(03), pages 613-657, September.
    6. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
    7. J. Bradford De Long & Marco Becht, . "`Excess Volatility' in the German Stock Market, 1876-1990," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _134, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
    8. William O. Brown, Jr. & Richard C.K. Burdekin, . "Turning Points in the U.S. Civil War: A British Perspective," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 1999-29, Claremont Colleges.
    9. Block, Michael Kent & Nold, Frederick Carl, 1981. "The Deterrent Effect of Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 429-45, June.
    10. Asch, Peter & Seneca, J J, 1976. "Is Collusion Profitable?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(1), pages 1-12, February.
    11. Webb, Steven B., 1980. "Tariffs, Cartels, Technology, and Growth in the German Steel Industry, 1879 to 1914," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(02), pages 309-330, June.
    12. Baltzer, Markus, 2006. "Cross-listed stocks as an information vehicle of speculation: Evidence from European cross-listings in the early 1870s," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(03), pages 301-327, December.
    13. repec:cup:jechis:v:60:y:2008:i:01:p:216-231_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng, 1982. "Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-82, January.
    15. Binder, John J, 1998. " The Event Study Methodology since 1969," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 111-37, September.
    16. Kiviet, Jan F., 1995. "On bias, inconsistency, and efficiency of various estimators in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 53-78, July.
    17. Deneckere, R., 1983. "Duopoly supergames with product differentiation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-2), pages 37-42.
    18. Cyree, Ken B & DeGennaro, Ramon P, 2002. " A Generalized Method for Detecting Abnormal Returns and Changes in Systematic Risk," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 399-416, December.
    19. Fohlin, Caroline & Gehrig, Thomas, 2006. "Trading Costs in Early Securities Markets: The Case of the Berlin Stock Exchange, 1880-1910," CEPR Discussion Papers 5827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Engle, Robert F, 1982. "Autoregressive Conditional Heteroscedasticity with Estimates of the Variance of United Kingdom Inflation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 987-1007, July.
    21. repec:kap:eurfin:v:10:y:2006:i:4:p:587-612 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Parnell, Martin F., 1994. "The German Tradition of Organized Capitalism: Self-Government in the Coal Industry," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198277613.
    23. Frey, Bruno S. & Waldenstr M, Daniel, 2004. "Markets work in war: World War II reflected in the Zurich and Stockholm bond markets," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 51-67, April.
    24. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
    25. Green, Edward J. & Porter, Robert H., 1982. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Working Papers 367, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    26. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
    27. Bittner, Thomas, 2005. "An event study of the Rhenish-Westphalian Coal Syndicate," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(03), pages 337-364, December.
    28. Gelman, Sergey & Burhop, Carsten, 2008. "Taxation, regulation and the information efficiency of the Berlin stock exchange, 1892–1913," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(01), pages 39-66, April.
    29. Bollerslev, Tim, 1986. "Generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 307-327, April.
    30. Lindenberg, Eric B & Ross, Stephen A, 1981. "Tobin's q Ratio and Industrial Organization," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 1-32, January.
    31. Brown, Stephen J. & Warner, Jerold B., 1985. "Using daily stock returns : The case of event studies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 3-31, March.
    32. Pedro L. MarÌn & Richard Sicotte, 2003. "Exclusive Contracts And Market Power: Evidence From Ocean Shipping," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 193-214, 06.
    33. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
    34. Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," NBER Working Papers 0456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    35. Servaes, Henri, 1996. " The Value of Diversification during the Conglomerate Merger Wave," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1201-25, September.
    36. Bosch, Jean-Claude & Eckard, E Woodrow, Jr, 1991. "The Profitability of Price Fixing: Evidence from Stock Market Reaction to Federal Indictments," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(2), pages 309-17, May.
    37. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
    38. Davidson, Carl & Deneckere, Raymond J, 1990. "Excess Capacity and Collusion," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(3), pages 521-41, August.
    39. Judson, Ruth A. & Owen, Ann L., 1999. "Estimating dynamic panel data models: a guide for macroeconomists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 9-15, October.
    40. A. Craig MacKinlay, 1997. "Event Studies in Economics and Finance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 13-39, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2009_09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marc Martin)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.