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Record: oai:ARNO:323110

AuthorA.M. Bos
TitleIncomplete cartels and antitrust policy : incidence and detection
PromotorsA.W.A. Boot, M.P. Schinkel
Date20-11-2009
PublisherTinbergen Institute
PlaceAmsterdam
Year2009
Pages189
ISBN9789036101462
FacultyFaculty of Economics and Business
Institute/dept.FEB: Tinbergen Institute
Classification-
AbstractA common assumption in the literature on cartels is that the cartel
is all-inclusive. However, many known cartels did not include all
firms in the relevant market. This thesis is about such incomplete
cartels. It is organized around four main research questions:
What explains optimal cartel size to be less than all-inclusive?
What are the traits of firms that join the cartel? What is the
relationship between industry structure and optimal cartel size?
and, How can economics be used to detect (incomplete) cartels?
It is found that the optimal cartel size is all-inclusive when colluding
is costless, but less than all-inclusive when colluding is costly and
the smallest firms in the industry are sufficiently small. Moreover,
the incentive to take part in a cartel is positively correlated with
firm size. We therefore should not expect full collusion in an industry
with one or more relatively small suppliers. In addition, the thesis
discusses how economics can be used to detect (incomplete) cartels.
The main focus is on basing-point pricing; a pricing method that
is known to have been abused by incomplete cartels to protect
local markets against distant competitors. It is shown that the
basing-points applied by a cartel differ from that of competitive
firms and that collusive basing-point pricing is difficult to detect
with known methods. Based on this, a novel detection test is
developed that is hard to beat for cartels using this otherwise
elusive form of price-fixing.
LanguageEnglish
NoteThis book is no. 463 of the Tinbergen Institute Research Series
Document typeDissertation
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