This article examines the attempts of several generations of manufacturers of cooking and heating appliances to manage competition in their very unconcentrated industry. They started with overt price-fixing, which soon failed, then moved on to a variety of more effective techniques—particularly joint regulation with the aid of a strong craft union, and the adoption of uniform cost-accounting and price-setting systems. The article illuminates the numerous ways in which a trade association could make cartel-like behavior work in an industry whose structural characteristics were apparently unfavorable and also the importance of state intervention to shaping and eventually limiting this strategy.
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