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Pure Numbers Effects, Market Power, and Tacit Collusion in Posted Offer Markets

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  • Douglas D. Davis

    () (Department of Economics, VCU School of Business)

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of seller concentration and static market power on tacit collusion in extensively repeated laboratory posted-offer markets. Contrary to the implications of some earlier research, we find that tacit collusion does not become pervasive with extensive repetition. In a ‘strong no power’ design persistently competitive outcomes are observed in markets with three or four sellers. Even duopolies are frequently competitive in this design. Unilateral market power raises prices, as predicted. However, static Nash predictions fail to organize outcomes across power treatments, because tacit collusion moves inversely with concentration. Excess capacity appears to explain observed tacit collusion levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas D. Davis, 2006. "Pure Numbers Effects, Market Power, and Tacit Collusion in Posted Offer Markets," Working Papers 0603, VCU School of Business, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:vcu:wpaper:0603
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    File URL: http://www.people.vcu.edu/~dddavis/working%20papers/Davis_01_09_09.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dan Alger, 1987. "Laboratory Tests of Equilibrium Predictions with Disequilibrium Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(1), pages 105-145.
    2. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-955, December.
    3. Douglas D. Davis & Oleg Korenok, 2009. "Posted Offer Markets In Near-Continuous Time: An Experimental Investigation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(3), pages 449-466, July.
    4. Henrik Orzen, 2008. "Counterintuitive number effects in experimental oligopolies," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(4), pages 390-401, December.
    5. Durham, Yvonne & McCabe, Kevin & Olson, Mark A. & Rassenti, Stephen & Smith, Vernon, 2004. "Oligopoly competition in fixed cost environments," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 147-162, February.
    6. Cason, Timothy N. & Williams, Arlington W., 1990. "Competitive equilibrium convergence in a posted-offer market with extreme earnings inequities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 331-352, December.
    7. Plott, Charles R., 1989. "An updated review of industrial organization: Applications of experimental methods," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 19, pages 1109-1176 Elsevier.
    8. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Price competition and market concentration: an experimental study," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 7-22, January.
    9. Douglas Davis & Oleg Korenok & Robert Reilly, 2010. "Cooperation without coordination: signaling, types and tacit collusion in laboratory oligopolies," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(1), pages 45-65, March.
    10. Douglas Davis & Oleg Korenok & Robert Reilly, 2009. "Re-matching, information and sequencing effects in posted offer markets," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(1), pages 65-86, March.
    11. Vernon L. Smith, 2003. "Constructivist and Ecological Rationality in Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 465-508, June.
    12. Deck, Cary A. & Wilson, Bart J., 2008. "Experimental gasoline markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 134-149, July.
    13. Davis, Douglas D. & Wilson, Bart J., 2008. "Strategic buyers, horizontal mergers and synergies: An experimental investigation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 643-661, May.
    14. Binmore, Ken, 1999. "Why Experiment in Economics?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages 16-24, February.
    15. Douglas D. Davis & Charles A. Holt, 1994. "Market Power and Mergers in Laboratory Markets with Posted Prices," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(3), pages 467-487, Autumn.
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    Cited by:

    1. Davis, Douglas, 2011. "Behavioral convergence properties of Cournot and Bertrand markets: An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 443-458.
    2. Douglas Davis & Oleg Korenok & Robert Reilly, 2009. "Re-matching, information and sequencing effects in posted offer markets," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(1), pages 65-86, March.
    3. Andrei Y. Shastitko & Svetlana V. Golovanova, 2014. "Collusion in markets characterized by one large buyer: lessons learned from an antitrust case in Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 49/EC/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    experiments; market concentration; market power;

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies

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