Discussion paper

DP14563 Collusive Market Allocations

Collusive schemes by suppliers often take the form of allocating customers or markets among cartel members. We analyze incentives for suppliers to initiate and sustain such a collusive schemes in a repeated procurement setting. We show that, contrary to some prevailing beliefs, staggered (versus synchronized) purchasing does not make collusion more difficult to sustain or initiate. Buyer defensive measures include synchronized rather than staggered purchasing, first-price rather than second-price auctions, more aggressive or secrete reserve prices, longer contract lengths, withholding information, and avoiding observable registration procedures. Inefficiency induced by defensive measures is an often unrecognized social cost of collusive conduct.


Iossa, E, S Loertscher, L Marx and P Rey (2020), ‘DP14563 Collusive Market Allocations‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 14563. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp14563