Wholesale Competition, Open Access Regulation and Tacit Collusion: Experimental Evidence
49 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2017 Last revised: 16 Nov 2018
Date Written: January 28, 2016
We consider the market scenario where wholesale access for a non-integrated reseller is provided competitively by two vertically integrated firms. In a continuous-time economic laboratory experiment with both student and expert participants we compare market outcomes under different modes of wholesale competition as well as under an open access regulation preventing a margin squeeze. We find that wholesale competition can facilitate tacit collusion, which yields wholesale and retail prices even above the monopoly level. However, we show that a simple price commitment rule can substantially reduce tacit collusion. Moreover, we do not find evidence that margin squeeze regulation benefits consumers.
Keywords: upstream competition; access regulation; vertical integration; margin squeeze regulation; open access; tacit collusion; experimental economics
JEL Classification: C90; L13; L22; L51
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