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Growth Policy, Agglomeration, and (the Lack of) Competition

Listed author(s):
  • Wyatt J. Brooks
  • Joseph P. Kaboski
  • Yao Amber Li

Industrial clusters are promoted by policy and generally viewed as good for growth and development, but both clusters and policies may also enable non-competitive behavior. This paper studies the presence of non-competitive pricing in geographic industrial clusters. We develop, validate, and apply a novel test for collusive behavior. We derive the test from the solution to a partial cartel of perfectly colluding firms in an industry. Outside of a cartel, a firm's markup depends on its market share, but in the cartel, markups across firms converge and depend instead on the total market share of the cartel. Empirically, we validate the test using plants with common owners, and then test for collusion using data from Chinese manufacturing firms (1999-2009). We find strong evidence for non-competitive pricing within a subset of industrial clusters, and we find the level of non-competitive pricing is about four times higher in Chinese special economic zones than outside those zones.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 22947.

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Date of creation: Dec 2016
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22947
Note: DEV EFG IO PR
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  1. Asturias, Jose & García-Santana, Manuel & Ramos Magdaleno, Roberto, 2016. "Competition and the welfare gains from transportation infrastructure: Evidence from the Golden Quadrilateral of India," CEPR Discussion Papers 11283, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Li Gan & Manuel A. Hernandez, 2013. "Making Friends with Your Neighbors? Agglomeration and Tacit Collusion in The Lodging Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 1002-1017, July.
  3. Brandt, Loren & Van Biesebroeck, Johannes & Zhang, Yifan, 2012. "Creative accounting or creative destruction? Firm-level productivity growth in Chinese manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 339-351.
  4. Wang, Jin, 2013. "The economic impact of Special Economic Zones: Evidence from Chinese municipalities," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 133-147.
  5. David Genesove & Wallace P. Mullin, 1998. "Testing Static Oligopoly Models: Conduct and Cost in the Sugar Industry, 1890-1914," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(2), pages 355-377, Summer.
  6. Marshall, Robert C. & Marx, Leslie M., 2012. "The Economics of Collusion: Cartels and Bidding Rings," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262017326, January.
  7. Simon Alder & Lin Shao & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2012. "The Effect of Economic Reform and Industrial Policy in a Panel of Chinese Cities," DEGIT Conference Papers c017_061, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
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