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Cartel Pricing Dynamics with Cost Variability and Endogenous Buyer Detection

  • Joseph E. Harrington, Jr.

    (Department of Economics, Johns Hopkins University)

  • Joe Chen

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)

This paper characterizes collusive pricing patterns when buyers may detect the presence of a cartel. Buyers are assumed to become suspicious when observed prices are anomalous. We find that the cartel price path is comprised of two phases. During the transitional phase, price is generally rising and relatively unresponsive to cost shocks. During the stationary phase, price responds to cost but is much less sensitive than under non-collusion or simple monopoly; a low price variance may then be a collusive marker. Compared to when firms do not collude, cost shocks take a longer time to pass-through to price.

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File URL: http://www.cirje.e.u-tokyo.ac.jp/research/dp/2005/2005cf359.pdf
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Paper provided by CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo in its series CIRJE F-Series with number CIRJE-F-359.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tky:fseres:2005cf359
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  1. Joseph E. Harrington, Jr., 2004. "Cartel Pricing Dynamics in the Presence of an Antitrust Authority," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(4), pages 651-673, Winter.
  2. Besanko, David & Spulber, Daniel F, 1989. "Antitrust Enforcement under Asymmetric Information," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(396), pages 408-25, June.
  3. Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1147, David K. Levine.
  4. Besanko, David & Spulber, Daniel F, 1990. "Are Treble Damages Neutral? Sequential Equilibrium and Private Antitrust Enforcement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 870-87, September.
  5. Philippe Cyrenne, 1999. "On Antitrust Enforcement and the Deterrence of Collusive Behaviour," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 257-272, May.
  6. Motta, Massimo & Polo, Michele, 2000. "Leniency Programs and Cartel Prosecution," CEPR Discussion Papers 2349, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. Block, Michael Kent & Nold, Frederick Carl, 1981. "The Deterrent Effect of Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 429-45, June.
  9. Bolotova, Yuliya & Connor, John M. & Miller, Douglas J., 2005. "The Impact of Collusion on Price Behavior: Empirical Results from Two Recent Cases," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19164, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  10. Joseph E. Harrington, 2005. "Optimal Cartel Pricing In The Presence Of An Antitrust Authority," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(1), pages 145-169, 02.
  11. Chantale LaCasse, 1995. "Bid Rigging and the Threat of Government Prosecution," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(3), pages 398-417, Autumn.
  12. Joseph E Harrington Jr, 2002. "Post-Cartel Pricing during Litigation," Economics Working Paper Archive 488, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Jun 2003.
  13. Christie, William G & Schultz, Paul H, 1994. " Why Do NASDAQ Market Makers Avoid Odd-Eighth Quotes?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(5), pages 1813-40, December.
  14. Saïd Souam, 1997. "Optimal Antitrust Policy Under Different Regimes of Fines," Working Papers 97-37, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  15. Foster, Dean P. & Young, H. Peyton, 2003. "Learning, hypothesis testing, and Nash equilibrium," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 73-96, October.
  16. Abrantes-Metz, Rosa M. & Froeb, Luke M. & Geweke, John & Taylor, Christopher T., 2006. "A variance screen for collusion," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 467-486, May.
  17. Harrington, Joseph Jr., 2003. "Some implications of antitrust laws for cartel pricing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 377-383, June.
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