Working paper

Collusive Market Allocations

Elisabetta Iossa, Simon Loertscher, Leslie Marx, and Patrick Rey


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.


synchronized vs staggered purchasing; sustainability and initiation of collusion; coordinated effects;

JEL codes

  • D44: Auctions
  • D82: Asymmetric and Private Information • Mechanism Design
  • L41: Monopolization • Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices


Elisabetta Iossa, Simon Loertscher, Leslie Marx, and Patrick Rey, Collusive Market Allocations, TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1084, March 2020.

See also

Published in

TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1084, March 2020