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Impossibility of Collusion under Imperfect Monitoring with Flexible Production

  • Yuliy Sannikov
  • Andrzej Skrzypacz

We show that it is impossible to achieve collusion in a duopoly when (1) the prices depend only on the sum of the firms' supplies (2) firms are able to respond to new information quickly and (3) the likelihood ratio for detection of each deviation is a continuous process (so that new information does not arrive in jumps.) We prove this result in a discrete-time setting where prices are stationary normal random variables whose mean depends on the sum of produced quantities and the variance is inversely proportional to time interval over which the quantities are fixed. The length of this interval represents the flexibility of production. In this setting, we show that when the production is sufficiently flexible, so that firms can move sufficiently frequently, it is not possible to sustain payoffs better than in a static Nash equilibrium. This result is valid even when we allow asymmetric public perfect equilibria with the possibility of monetary transfers. We also discuss effects of product differentiation.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2004 Meeting Papers with number 418.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:418
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
Fax: 1-314-444-8731
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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  1. Andreas Blume & Paul Heidhues, 2008. "Modeling Tacit Collusion in Auctions," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 164(1), pages 163-184, March.
  2. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine & Eric Maskin, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2058, David K. Levine.
  3. Abreu, Dilip & Milgrom, Paul & Pearce, David, 1991. "Information and Timing in Repeated Partnerships," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1713-33, November.
  4. Athey, Susan & Bagwell, Kyle, 2001. "Optimal Collusion with Private Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 428-65, Autumn.
  5. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell & Chris Sanchirico, 2004. "Collusion and Price Rigidity," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 317-349, 04.
  6. Hay, George A & Kelley, Daniel, 1974. "An Empirical Survey of Price Fixing Conspiracies," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 13-38, April.
  7. Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1147, David K. Levine.
  8. David A. Miller, 2005. "The dynamic cost of ex post incentive compatibility in repeated games of private information," Game Theory and Information 0510002, EconWPA.
  9. 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.
  10. Hopenhayn, Hugo A. & Skrzypacz, Andrzej, 2001. "Tacit Collusion in Repeated Auctions," Research Papers 1698r2, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  11. Joseph E. Harrington Jr. & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2007. "Collusion under monitoring of sales," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(2), pages 314-331, 06.
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