Volltext-Downloads (blau) und Frontdoor-Views (grau)

Analysis of cartel behavior in the oil market

  • 2016 marks the 56th anniversary of the oil cartel: OPEC. It managed to increase prices in 1972. In doing so, it behaved in a manner consistent with a cartel, bringing about a wave of studies on it. This study provides an overview of Organization of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC)’s cartel behavior form 1980 to 2014/5, from five different perspectives. These perspectives, although have been studies individually, but never holistically. This study grounds the research questions into the structure-conduct-performance paradigm for each of the five perspectives of cartel behavior. Each perspective is also backed by a theory of its own. The first perspective is that of the neo-classical theory of the firm, in that OPEC is deemed to be created for the purpose of creating profits for its members. The second perspective looks at whether or not OPEC is internally and externally stable by looking at economic and non-economic influences on the organization. The third perspective makes use of the theory of market contestability, in oder to determine which member in the cartel has had and still holds most influence within the cartel. The fourth perspective looks at entry and exit trends from OPEC, to determine what impact it has on the incumbent profits and that of the defectors. The fifth perspective uses the concept of black swan from the strategic management literature to discuss whether or not OPEC will dissolve in the next fifty years and whether this will bring about a golden or a black swan. The methodology prevalent throughout the study is a case study analysis of the OPEC cartel behavior, however, two of the chapters also run a regression analysis (chapters 3 and 4), using variables identified from the structure-conduct-performance paradigm. The second and the third provide a descriptive overview via line graphs, while the last uses the methodology of observation. It has been found that OPEC has earned abnormal profits which steadily increased, Saudi Arabia has been instrumental in managing quotas, and importance of each country is determined by the output it produced from one year to the next. In addition, economic influences are more important than the non-economic influences for OPEC's viability as a cartel, exit from OPEC is not advisable for the defector nor the incumbent firms and the cartel is not internally stable as barriers to entry are low and members can easily defect and can rejoin the cartel. Lastly, OPEC’s influence in the oil market is waning fast, which might lead to a black swan event.

Export metadata

Additional Services

Search Google Scholar


Author:Ayesha Shakoor
Advisor:Marc Peter Radke
Document Type:Master's Thesis
Year of Completion:2016
Granting Institution:Hochschule Furtwangen
Date of final exam:0016/02/29
Release Date:2016/07/18
Degree Program:IMM - International Management
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt