Tuesday, December 6, 2022
We study the events alleged in recent Norwegian salmon industry antitrust cases to explore the relationship between vertical integration and collusion. In particular, we are interested in whether vertical integration can facilitate the strategic use of coordination devices such as public price indices. The salmon market provides an intriguing opportunity to study these issues, as there was a vertical merger followed by a reformulation of the methodology by which prices for forward and spot contracts were reported for a new price index. We explore possible non-strategic motivations for the merger (e.g., labor cost efficiencies) and whether the confluence of the merger and the creation of the Nasdaq price index is associated with evidence consistent with collusion.