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Collusion with Capacity Constraints over the Business Cycle

  • Natalia Fabra

    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

This paper investigates the effect of capacity constraints on the sustainability of collusion in markets subject to cyclical demand fluctuations. In the absence of capacity constraints (i.e. a limiting case of our model), Haltiwanger and Harrington (1991) show that firms find it more difficult to collude during periods of decreasing demand. We find that this prediction can be overturned if firms' capacities are sufficiently small. Capacity constraints imply that punishment profits move procyclically, so that periods of increasing demand may lead to lower losses from cheating even if collusive profits are rising. Haltiwanger and Harrington's main prediction remains valid for su±ciently large capacities.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Industrial Organization with number 0308001.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 31 Aug 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0308001
Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on PC; pages: 24 ; figures: included
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  1. Severin Boreinstein & Andrea Shepard, 1996. "Dynamic Pricing in Retail Gasoline Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(3), pages 429-451, Autumn.
  2. Kyle Bagwell & Robert Staiger, 1997. "Collusion Over the Business Cycle," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 82-106, Spring.
  3. Rosenbaum, David I. & Sukharomana, Supachat, 2001. "Oligopolistic pricing over the deterministic market demand cycle: some evidence from the US Portland cement industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 863-884, May.
  4. David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
  5. Cowling, Keith, 1983. "Excess Capacity and the Degree of Collusion: Oligopoly Behaviour in the Slump," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 51(4), pages 341-59, December.
  6. Osborne, Martin J. & Pitchik, Carolyn, 1983. "Price Competition in a Capacity-Constrained Duopoly," Working Papers 83-08, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  7. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing and the Effects of Aggregate Demand on Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 3206, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. repec:adr:anecst:y:1989:i:15-16:p:12 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Carl Davidson & Raymond Deneckere, 1986. "Long-Run Competition in Capacity, Short-Run Competition in Price, and the Cournot Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
  10. Iwand, Thomas & Rosenbaum, David I., 1991. "Pricing strategies in supergames with capacity constraints : Some evidence from the U.S. portland cement industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 497-511, December.
  11. Brock, William A & Scheinkman, Jose A, 1985. "Price Setting Supergames with Capacity Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 371-82, July.
  12. Lambson, Val Eugene, 1987. "Optimal Penal Codes in Price-Setting Supergames with Capacity Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 385-97, July.
  13. Compte, Olivier & Jenny, Frederic & Rey, Patrick, 2002. "Capacity constraints, mergers and collusion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
  14. Kandori, Michihiro, 1991. "Correlated Demand Shocks and Price Wars during Booms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 171-80, January.
  15. Dan Kovenock & Raymond J. Deneckere, 1996. "Bertrand-Edgeworth duopoly with unit cost asymmetry (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 1-25.
  16. Rosenbaum, David I., 1989. "An empirical test of the effect of excess capacity in price setting, capacity-constrained supergames," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 231-241, June.
  17. 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.
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