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Tacit Collusion and Capacity Withholding in Repeated Uniform Price Auctions

  • Dechenaux, Emmanuel
  • Kovenock, Dan

This paper contributes to the study of tacit collusion by analyzing infinitely reaped multiunit uniform price auctions in a symmetric oligopoly with capacity constrained firms. Under both the Market Clearing and Maximum Accepted Price rules of determining the uniform price, we show that when each firm sets a price-quantity pair specifying the firm’s minimum acceptable price and the maximum quantity the firm is willing to sell at this price, there exists a range of discount factors for which the monopoly outcome with equal sharing is sustainable in the uniform price auction, but not in the corresponding discriminatory auction. Moreover, capacity withholding may be necessary to sustain this outcome. We extend these results to the case where firms may set bids that are arbitrary step functions of price-quantity pairs with any finite number of price steps. Surprisingly, under the Maximum Accepted Price rule, firms need employ no more than two price steps to minimize the value of the discount factor above which the perfectly collusive outcome with equal sharing is sustainable on a stationary path. Under the Market Clearing Price rule, only one step is required. That is, within the class of step bidding functions with a finite number of steps, maximal collusion is attained with simple price-quantity strategies exhibiting capacity withholding.

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Paper provided by Purdue University, Department of Economics in its series Purdue University Economics Working Papers with number 1174.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pur:prukra:1174
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Web page: http://www.krannert.purdue.edu/programs/phd

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  1. Le Coq, Chloé, 2002. "Strategic use of available capacity in the electricity spot market," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 496, Stockholm School of Economics.
  2. Raymond Deneckere & Dan Kovenock, 1988. "Price Leadership," Discussion Papers 773, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Dan Kovenock, 2011. "Endogenous rationing, price dispersion and collusion in capacity constrained supergames," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 29-74, May.
  4. Aitor Ciarreta & María Espinosa, 2010. "Market power in the Spanish electricity auction," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 42-69, February.
  5. Green, Richard J & Newbery, David M, 1992. "Competition in the British Electricity Spot Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 929-53, October.
  6. Anette Boom, . "Investments in Electricity Generation Capacity under Different Market Structures with Price Responsive Demand," Papers 016, Departmental Working Papers.
  7. Natalia Fabra, 2003. "Tacit Collusion in Repeated Auctions: Uniform Versus Discriminatory," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 271-293, 09.
  8. Bushnell, James & Wolfram, Catherine, 2008. "Electricity Markets," Staff General Research Papers 31547, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  9. Borenstein, Severin & Bushnell, James & Wolak, Frank, 2002. "Measuring Market Inefficiencies in California's Deregulated Electricity Industry," Staff General Research Papers 13136, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  10. Garcia-Diaz, Anton & Marin, Pedro L., 2003. "Strategic bidding in electricity pools with short-lived bids: an application to the Spanish market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 201-222, February.
  11. Crawford, Gregory S. & Crespo, Joseph & Tauchen, Helen, 2007. "Bidding asymmetries in multi-unit auctions: Implications of bid function equilibria in the British spot market for electricity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1233-1268, December.
  12. Severin Borenstein & James. Bushnell & Steven Stoft, 2000. "The Competitive Effects of Transmission Capacity in A Deregulated Electricity Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(2), pages 294-325, Summer.
  13. Brock, William A & Scheinkman, Jose A, 1985. "Price Setting Supergames with Capacity Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 371-82, July.
  14. Natalia Fabra & Nils-Henrik von der Fehr & David Harbord, 2002. "Designing Electricity Auctions," Microeconomics 0211017, EconWPA, revised 31 Aug 2003.
  15. Lambson, Val Eugene, 1987. "Optimal Penal Codes in Price-Setting Supergames with Capacity Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 385-97, July.
  16. Davidson, Carl & Deneckere, Raymond, 1984. "Horizontal mergers and collusive behavior," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 117-132, June.
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