Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

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Monday, February 26, 2007

How Much Collusion? A Meta-Analysis on Oligopoly Experiments

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Across the Atlantic, Christoph Engel of the Max Planck Institute for Collective Goods has just posted a paper on indexing collusion entitled "How Much Collusion? A Meta-Analysis on Oligopoly Experiments." 

ABSTRACT: Oligopoly has been among the first topics in the experimental economics. Over half a century, some 150 papers have been published. Each individual paper was interested in demonstrating one effect. But in order to do so, experimenters had to specify many more parameters. That way they have generated a huge body of evidence, untapped thus far. This meta-analysis makes this evidence available. More than 100 of the papers lend themselves to calculating an index of collusion. The data bank behind this paper covers some 500 different settings. The experimental results may be normalised as a percentage of the span between the Walrasian and the Pareto outcomes. The same way, results may be expressed as a percentage of the distance between the Nash and the Pareto outcomes. For each and every of the parameters, these two indices make it possible to answer two questions: how far is the market outcome away from the competitive equilibrium? And how good is the Nash prediction? Most importantly, however, the meta-analysis sheds light on how features of the experimental setting interact with each other. Most main effects and many interaction effects are indeed statistically significant.

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