IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/6936.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Dynamic Oligopoly with Collusion and Price Wars

Author

Listed:
  • Chaim Fershtman
  • Ariel Pakes

Abstract

Most of the theoretical work on collusion and price wars assumes identical firms and an unchanging environment, assumptions which are at odds with what we know about most industries. Further that literature focuses on the impact of collusion on prices. Whether an industry can support collusion also effects investment incentives and hence the variety, cost, and quality of the products marketed. We provide a collusive framework with heterogeneity among firms, investment, entry, and exit. It is a symmetric information model in which it is hard to sustain collusion when either one of the firms does not keep up with the advances of its competitors, or a low quality' entrant enters. In either case there will be an active firm that is quite likely to exit after it deviates, but if one of the competitors is near an exit state the other incumbent(s) has an incentive to price predatorily (that is to deviate themselves). We use numerical analysis to compare an institutional structure that allows for collusion to one which does not (perhaps because of an active antitrust authority). Price paths clearly differ in the two environments; in particular only the collusive industry generates price wars. The collusive industry offers both more and higher quality products to consumers, albeit often at a higher price. The positive effect of collusion on the variety and quality of products marketed more than compensates consumers for the negative effect of collusive prices, so that consumer surplus is larger in the collusive environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Chaim Fershtman & Ariel Pakes, 1999. "A Dynamic Oligopoly with Collusion and Price Wars," NBER Working Papers 6936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6936
    Note: IO
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6936.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Schmalensee, Richard, 1987. "Competitive advantage and collusive optima," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 351-367.
    2. James W. Friedman, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(1), pages 1-12.
    3. Green, Edward J & Porter, Robert H, 1984. "Noncooperative Collusion under Imperfect Price Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 87-100, January.
    4. Harrington, Joseph Jr., 1989. "Collusion among asymmetric firms: The case of different discount factors," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 289-307, June.
    5. John Haltiwanger & Joseph E. Harrington Jr., 1991. "The Impact of Cyclical Demand Movements on Collusive Behavior," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(1), pages 89-106, Spring.
    6. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
    7. Drew Fudenberg & David Levine & Eric Maskin, 2008. "The Folk Theorem With Imperfect Public Information," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: A Long-Run Collaboration On Long-Run Games, chapter 12, pages 231-273 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    8. Kyle Bagwell & Robert Staiger, 1997. "Collusion Over the Business Cycle," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 82-106, Spring.
    9. Robert W. Staiger & Frank A. Wolak, 1992. "Collusive Pricing with Capacity Constraints in the Presence of Demand Uncertainty," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(2), pages 203-220, Summer.
    10. Richard Ericson & Ariel Pakes, 1995. "Markov-Perfect Industry Dynamics: A Framework for Empirical Work," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82.
    11. Chaim Fershtman & Eitan Muller, 1986. "Capital Investments and Price Agreements in Semicollusive Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(2), pages 214-226, Summer.
    12. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1979. "Equilibrium in supergames with the overtaking criterion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-9, August.
    13. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
    14. Fershtman, Chaim & Gandal, Neil, 1994. "Disadvantageous semicollusion," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 141-154, June.
    15. Michihiro Kandori, 1991. "Correlated Demand Shocks and Price Wars During Booms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 171-180.
    16. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 2001. "Markov Perfect Equilibrium: I. Observable Actions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 191-219, October.
    17. George Stigler, 2010. "Theory of Oligopoly," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 6.
    18. 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.
    19. James W. Friedman & Jacques-Francois Thisse, 1993. "Partial Collusion Fosters Minimum Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(4), pages 631-645, Winter.
    20. Levenstein, Margaret C, 1997. "Price Wars and the Stability of Collusion: A Study of the Pre-World War I Bromine Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 117-137, June.
    21. Glenn Ellison, 1994. "Theories of Cartel Stability and the Joint Executive Committee," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 37-57, Spring.
    22. Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1991. "Aggregation and Imperfect Competition: On the Existence of Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 25-59, January.
    23. Abreu, Dilip & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1986. "Optimal cartel equilibria with imperfect monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 251-269, June.
    24. Abreu, Dilip, 1986. "Extremal equilibria of oligopolistic supergames," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 191-225, June.
    25. Porter, Robert H., 1983. "Optimal cartel trigger price strategies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 313-338, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6936. 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: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.