Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Semi-collusion in media markets

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Ralf Dewenter, Justus Haucap, and Tobias Wenzel (all Dusseldorf Institute for Competition Economics) investigate Semi-collusion in media markets.

ABSTRACT: This paper explores the effects that collusion can have in newspaper markets where firms compete for advertising as well as for readership. We compare three modes of competition: i) competition in the advertising and the reader market, ii) semi-collusion over advertising (with competition in the reader market), and iii) (full) collusion in both the advertising and the reader market. We find that semi-collusion leads to less advertising (but higher advertising prices) and lower copy prices which is beneficial for readers. Under certain circumstances, semi-collusion may even benefit advertisers as newspaper circulation is higher. In addition, total welfare may rise due to semi-collusion. Results under full collusion are ambiguous. However, even under full collusion newspaper copy prices may decrease and welfare may increase.

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