Spaced Out Monopolies: Theory and Empirics of Alternating Product Releases
An oft-neglected pattern of behavior occurs when firms time the release of their products so that they are not released on the same date. The practice is potentially collusive, so there may be legitimate antitrust concerns. This paper presents a model of this behavior, the alternating periods monopoly (APM). A comparison of the APM with other sustainable methods of collusion shows the conditions under which the APM is preferred. I develop an empirical test to detect the APM, and use data from the baseball card industry to investigate the possible use of an APM.
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