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Entry and Predation: British Shipping Cartels 1879-1929

  • Fiona Scott Morton
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    I examine the outcomes of cases of entry by merchant shipping lines into established markets around the turn of the century. These established markets are completely dominated by an incumbent cartel composed of several member shipping lines. The cartel makes the decision whether or not to begin a price war against the entrant; some entrants are formally admitted to the cartel without any conflict. I use characteristics of the entrant to predict whether or not the entrant will encounter a price war conditional on entering. I find that weaker entrants are fought, where weaker means less financial resources, experience, size, or poor trade conditions. The empirical results provide support for the long purse theory of predation. I discuss qualitative evidence such as predatory intent expressed in correspondence between cartel members which supports the empirical results. The results are also found to be robust to misclassification of the dependent variable which is a particular concern when dealing with historical data.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5663.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5663.

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    Date of creation: Jul 1996
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    Publication status: published as Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, Vol. 6, no. 1 (1997).
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5663
    Note: IO
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    1. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K, 1989. "Reputation and Equilibrium Selection in Games with a Patient Player," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 759-78, July.
    2. Burns, Malcolm R, 1986. "Predatory Pricing and Acquisition Cost of Competitors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 266-96, April.
    3. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1980. "Predation, Reputation, and Entry Deterrence," Discussion Papers 427, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    4. Cosslett, Stephen R, 1983. "Distribution-Free Maximum Likelihood Estimator of the Binary Choice Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 765-82, May.
    5. McGee, John S, 1980. "Predatory Pricing Revisited," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 289-330, October.
    6. Irwin, Douglas A, 1991. "Mercantilism as Strategic Trade Policy: The Anglo-Dutch Rivalry for the East India Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1296-314, December.
    7. Han, Aaron K., 1987. "Non-parametric analysis of a generalized regression model : The maximum rank correlation estimator," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2-3), pages 303-316, July.
    8. Green, Edward J & Porter, Robert H, 1984. "Noncooperative Collusion under Imperfect Price Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 87-100, January.
    9. Slade, Margaret E, 1989. "Price Wars in Price-Setting Supergames," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 56(223), pages 295-310, August.
    10. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1985. "Predation Without Reputation," Working papers 377, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    11. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1986. "A "Signal-Jamming" Theory of Predation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 366-376, Autumn.
    12. Yamey, B S, 1972. "Predatory Price Cutting: Notes and Comments," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 129-42, April.
    13. Pirrong, Stephen Craig, 1992. "An Application of Core Theory to the Analysis of Ocean Shipping Markets," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 89-131, April.
    14. Garth Saloner, 1987. "Predation, Mergers, and Incomplete Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 165-186, Summer.
    15. Ordover, Janusz A. & Saloner, Garth, 1989. "Predation, monopolization, and antitrust," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 537-596 Elsevier.
    16. Bolton, Patrick & Scharfstein, David S, 1990. "A Theory of Predation Based on Agency Problems in Financial Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 93-106, March.
    17. Hausman, J.A. & Morton, F.M.S., 1994. "Misclassification of Dependent Variable in a Discrete Response Setting," Working papers 94-19, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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