Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Smock discusses the "new American family" on NPR

Pfeffer and colleagues re-examine impacts of community college attendance

Frey explains the minority-majority remapping of America

Highlights

Apply for 2-year NICHD Postdoctoral Fellowships that begin September 2015

PSC Fall 2014 Newsletter now available

Martha Bailey and Nicolas Duquette win Cole Prize for article on War on Poverty

Michigan's graduate sociology program tied for 4th with Stanford in USN&WR rankings

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Dec 1
Linda Waite, Health & Well-Being of Adults over 60

What Determines Cartel Success?

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Levenstein, Margaret, and Valerie Y. Suslow. 2006. "What Determines Cartel Success?" Journal of Economic Literature, 44(1): 1.

Following George Stigler (1964), many economists assume that incentive problems undermine attempts by firms to collude to raise prices and restrict output. But the potential profits from collusion can create a powerful incentive as well. Theory cannot tell us, a priori, which effect will dominate: whether or when cartels succeed is thus an empirical question. We examine a wide variety of empirical studies of cartels to answer the following questions: (1) Can cartels succeed? (2) If so, for how long? (3) What impact do cartels have? (4) What causes cartels to break up? We conclude that many cartels do survive, and that the distribution of duration is bimodal. While the average duration of cartels across a range of studies is about five years, many cartels break up very quickly (i.e., in less than a year). But there are many others that last between five and ten years, and some that last decades. Limited evidence suggests that cartels are able to increase prices and profits, to varying degrees. Cartels can also affect other non-price variables, including advertising, innovation, investment, barriers to entry, and concentration. Cartels break up occasionally because of cheating or lack of effective monitoring, but the biggest challenges cartels face are entry and adjustment of the collusive agreement in response to changing economic conditions. Cartels that develop organizational structures that allow them the flexibility to respond to these changing conditions are more likely to survive. Price wars that erupt are often the result of bargaining issues that arise in such circumstances. Sophisticated cartel organizations are also able to develop multipronged strategies to monitor one another to deter cheating and a variety of interventions to increase barriers to entry

DOI:10.2139/ssrn.10.2139/ssrn.299415 (Full Text)

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next