Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

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

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Relaxing competition through speculation: Committing to a negative supply slope

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Par Holmberg (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))and Bert Willems (Tilburg) are Relaxing competition through speculation: Committing to a negative supply slope.

ABSTRACT: We demonstrate how suppliers can take strategic speculative positions in derivatives markets to soften competition in the spot market. In our game, suppliers first choose a portfolio of call options and then compete with supply functions. In equilibrium firms sell forward contracts and buy call options to commit to downward sloping supply functions. Although this strategy is risky, it reduces the elasticity of the residual demand of competitors, who increase their mark-ups in response. We show that this type of strategic speculation increases the level and volatility of commodity prices and decreases welfare.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/antitrustprof_blog/2013/02/relaxing-competition-through-speculation-committing-to-a-negative-supply-slope.html

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