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Testing Game-Theoretic Models of Price Fixing Behaviour

  • Vassilis A. Hajivassiliou

    (Yale University)

This paper analyzes price fixing by the Joint Executive Committee railroad cartel from 1880 to 1886 and develops tests of two game-theoretic models of tacit collusion. The first model, due to Abreu, Pearce and Stacchetti (1986), predicts that price will switch across regimes according to a Markov process. The second, by Rotemberg and Saloner (1986), postulates that price wars are more likely in periods of high industry demand. Switching regressions are used to model the firms' shifting between collusive and punishment behavior. The main econometric novelty in the estimation procedures introduced in this paper is that misclassification probabilities are allowed to vary endogenously over time. The JEC data set is expanded to include measures of grain production to be shipped and availability of substitute transportation services. Our findings cast doubt on the applicability of the Rotemberg and Saloner model to the JEC railroad cartel, while they confirm the Markovian prediction of the Abreu, et al. Model.

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Paper provided by Yale University in its series Working Papers with number _017.

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Date of creation: Apr 1993
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Handle: RePEc:wop:yaluwp:_017
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  1. Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1147, David K. Levine.
  2. 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.
  3. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  4. Michael H. Riordan, 1985. "Imperfect Information and Dynamic Conjectural Variations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 41-50, Spring.
  5. Vassilis A. Hajivassiliou & Daniel L. McFadden, 1998. "The Method of Simulated Scores for the Estimation of LDV Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 863-896, July.
  6. Berry, Steven & Briggs, Hugh, 1988. "A non-parametric test of a first-order Markov process for regimes in a non-cooperatively collusive industry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 73-77.
  7. Lee, Lung-Fei & Porter, Robert H, 1984. "Switching Regression Models with Imperfect Sample Separation Information-With an Application on Cartel Stability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 391-418, March.
  8. Vassilis A. Hajivassiliou, 1986. "Two Misspecification Tests for the Simple Switching Regressions Disequilibrium Model," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 792, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  9. Fair, Ray C & Jaffee, Dwight M, 1972. "Methods of Estimation for Markets in Disequilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(3), pages 497-514, May.
  10. Goldfelfd, Stephen M. & Quandt, Richard E., 1975. "Estimation in a disequilibrium model and the value of information," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 325-348, November.
  11. Cosslett, Stephen R. & Lee, Lung-Fei, 1985. "Serial correlation in latent discrete variable models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 79-97, January.
  12. Nelson, Forrest D., 1977. "Censored regression models with unobserved, stochastic censoring thresholds," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 309-327, November.
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