Topic: Is Collusion Possible?

As I have already mentioned, in practice firms are likely to interact repeatedly. Such factors as technological

Topic: Is Collusion Possible?



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very small, the players will effectively collude until some point towards the end of the game. This occurs because its not worth A detecting in view of the risk that the no-collusive outcome will obtain for the rest of the game, and because B wishes to maintain his reputation for possibly preferring, or being committed to, the “trigger” strategy. Thus even the small degree of doubt about the motivation of one of the players can yield much effective collusion.

  1. The motives for retaliation.

The motives for retaliation differ in three approaches. In the first approach, the price war is a purely self-fulfilling phenomenon. A firm charges a lower price because of its expectations about the similar action from the other one. The signal that triggers such a non-co-operative phase is previous undercutting by one of the firms. The second approach presumes short-run price rigidities; the reaction by one firm to a price cut by another one is motivated by its desire to regain a market share. The third approach (reputation) focuses on intertemporal links that arise from the firms learning about each other. A firm reacts to a price cut by charging a low price itself because the previous price cut has conveyed the information that its opponent either has a low cost or cannot be trusted to sustain collusion and is therefore likely to charge relatively low prices in the future.

6. Conclusion.

So far I have discussed the collusion using some simple example with a choice of output levels made by the two firms. But there may be several firms in the industry, and in fact firms have a much broader choice. It may be that their decision variable is price, investment, R&D and advertising. Nevertheless the more or less the same analysis could be applied in each of the case.

I have examined different assumptions and predictions, which allow or do not allow the possibility of collusion. In reality such thing as collusion definitely takes place, if it had not, there would not have been any strong an ambiguous discussion of this topic. But I think it would be appropriate to end this essay with an explicit reminder that once we leave the world of perfect competition, we lose the identity of interests between consumers and producers. So, the discussion of benefits to firms in oligopoly that arise from finding strategies to enforce collusive behaviour might well have been the discussion of the expenses of consumers.

7. Bibliography.

  1. J.Vickers, “Strategic competition among the few- Some recent developments in the economics of industry”.
  2. J.Tirole, “The theory of industrial organisation”. Ch 6.
  3. Estrin & Laidler. “Introduction to microeconomics”. Ch 17.
  4. W.Nicholson, “Microeconomic theory”. Ch 20.

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