Thomas W. Gilligan and Subrata Sarkar

Statistical Causality and Strategic Behavior in Industrial Markets

This paper proposes a simple test of the leader-follower model of strategic behavior. This test relates the temporal notions of leadership central to such models to the empirical methods of statistical causality. This test is performed using data from the US softwood plywood industry of the last three decades. Others have productively explored the spatial pricing practices of this industry by applying a leader-follower model. Similarly, we find that a leader-follower model explains well the temporal relations between key strategic variables (prices) in the industry. We conclude that the leader-follower model imposes meaningful restrictions on observable time-series data and that statistical causality is a useful method for testing these restrictions.