Joseph E. Harrington; Jr.
Abstract: This study investigates when a cartel that uses a sales quota allocation scheme monitors more frequently than it enforces; for example, monitoring of sales is done on a weekly basis but firms are only required to comply with sales quotas on a quarterly basis. In a simple three-period quantity game with iid cost and demand shocks, we show that the volatility of a cartel member’s sales follows a U-shape within the compliance horizon. In comparison, sales volatility is constant over time under competition. This result offers a simple empirical test for distinguishing collusion from competition using sales data.