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Sustainability of Collusion: Evidence from the Late 19th Century Basque Iron and Steel Industry

  • Pedro Mendi


    (Universidad de Navarra)

  • Róbert F. Veszteg


    (Universidad de Navarra)

This paper presents evidence on actual collusive agreements from the late 19th Century iron and steel industry in Spain. We examine the minutes of the executive boards of two Basque firms, Altos Hornos de Bilbao and Vizcaya, to discuss the relevance of different factors on survival and failure of a number of explicit collusive agreements reached in the industry from 1886 to 1901. We find that collusion was more likely to break down in periods of falling demand, and that strong demand provides these agreements with stability. Additionally, we argue that the presence of centralized sales agencies, similar degrees of vertical integration among colluding firms, and tariff protection are factors that facilitate collusion.

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Paper provided by School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Navarra in its series Faculty Working Papers with number 04/07.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:una:unccee:wp0407
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  1. Helder Vasconcelos, 2005. "Tacit Collusion, Cost Asymmetries, and Mergers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(1), pages 39-62, Spring.
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  3. Genesove, David & Mullin, Wallace P, 2001. "Rules, Communication and Collusion: Narrative Evidence from the Sugar Institute Case," CEPR Discussion Papers 2739, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Klaus Abbink & Jordi Brandts, 2005. "Collusion in Growing and Shrinking Markets: Empirical Evidence from Experimental Duopolies," Working Papers 168, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  9. Joseph E. Harrington, Jr, 2006. "How Do Cartels Operate?," Economics Working Paper Archive 531, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  10. Margaret C. Levenstein & Valerie Y. Suslow, 2002. "What Determines Cartel Success?," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2002-01, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  11. 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.
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  13. Houpt, Stefan, 2002. "Putting Spanish steel on the map: The location of Spanish integrated steel, 1880 1936," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(02), pages 193-220, August.
  14. Pedro Mendi & Róbert Veszteg, 2007. "Profitable mergers with endogenous tariffs," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 12(23), pages 1-8.
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  19. Marc Escrihuela, 2003. "Mergers In A Partially Cartelized Market," Working Papers. Serie AD 2003-29, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  20. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1985. "Common Marketing Agency as a Device for Facilitating Collusion," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(2), pages 269-281, Summer.
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  22. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 2004. "Through Trial and Error to Collusion," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(1), pages 205-224, 02.
  23. Marc Escrihuela-Villar, 2004. "Cartel Sustainability and Cartel Stability," Working Papers 2004.44, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  24. 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.
  25. Joseph E. Harrington, Jr, 2005. "Detecting Cartels," Economics Working Paper Archive 526, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  26. Muren, Astri & Pyddoke, Roger, 2006. "Collusion without communication," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 43-54, March.
  27. Compte, Olivier & Jenny, Frederic & Rey, Patrick, 2002. "Capacity constraints, mergers and collusion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
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