In economics, collusion (lat. Collusio : secret consent) means the coordination or consultation of actors active in the market (e.g. companies). Collusions are u. a. examined in industrial economics and oligopoly theory.
Collusion can also be viewed as a variant of covert cooperation . This classification can also be done the other way around and the transitions between the concepts are mostly fluid. A more concrete form of delimitation could take place legally (cf. collusion in law ). In economic theory, however, the term is mostly used in a broader sense for cooperation or consultation. As a market form , collusion is in any case opposed to competition .
Differentiation from collusions
A distinction is made between contractual and non-contractual and between horizontal and vertical collusions.
According to the form of the agreement
- Contractual collusions include cartels , cooperations and alliances .
- Non-contractual collusion (coordinated behavior) includes informal communication and general parallel behavior . One example is the behavior of banks - if you can't get a loan from one bank, it is very likely that you won't get it from the second either.
After the value chain
- The horizontal collusion particularly describes a coordinated parallel behavior in the price setting; z. B. Gas stations. The horizontal collusion therefore regularly leads to investigations and prohibition orders from the Cartel Office .
- Vertical collusion describes, for example, fixed prices and recommended prices, e.g. B. for books ( fixed book prices ). This form of collusion is prohibited by legislative measures in almost all areas of economic life.
The suspension of price competition and the cross-subsidies that are sometimes associated with it are problematic .
Oligopol theory and collusion solution
An oligopoly model is called a collusion solution, in which the providers coordinate their actions in such a way that they maximize the overall profit of the industry. They behave like a monopoly and jointly maximize profits . From the point of view of companies, collusion is a market form that should be striven for. However, this solution is unstable as one party may have an incentive to deviate from this strategy (they are not contractually bound). This often leads to situations similar to the Prisoner's Dilemma (these and other situations and behaviors are also explored in game theory ).
For example, it is conceivable that two companies could achieve a profit above that of the Cournot equilibrium through collusion (cf. Cournot oligopoly ).
The opposite of collusion or cooperation is called defection .
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