Number Effects and Tacit Collusion in Experimental Oligopolies

Journal of Industrial Economics, Forthcoming

75 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2014 Last revised: 29 Apr 2018

See all articles by Niklas Horstmann

Niklas Horstmann

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Jan Kraemer

University of Passau; Center on Regulation in Europe (CERRE)

Daniel Schnurr

University of Passau

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Date Written: April 9, 2018


We systematically investigate the relationship between the number of firms in a market and tacit collusion by means of a meta-analysis of the literature on oligopoly experiments as well as two of our own experiments with a total of 368 participants. We show that the degree of tacit collusion decreases strictly with the number of competitors in industries with two, three and four firms. Although previous literature could not affirm that triopolies are more collusive than quadropolies, we provide evidence for this fact for symmetric and asymmetric firms under Bertrand and Cournot competition.

Keywords: Experimental economics, Oligopolies, Tacit collusion, Number of competitors

JEL Classification: L13, D21, D43, C92

Suggested Citation

Horstmann, Niklas and Kraemer, Jan and Schnurr, Daniel, Number Effects and Tacit Collusion in Experimental Oligopolies (April 9, 2018). Journal of Industrial Economics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Niklas Horstmann (Contact Author)

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology ( email )

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Jan Kraemer

University of Passau ( email )

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Daniel Schnurr

University of Passau ( email )

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