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Are Antitrust Fines Friendly to Competition? An Endogenous Coalition Formation Approach to Collusive Cartels

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  • David BARTOLINI

    ([n.a.])

  • Alberto ZAZZARO

    ()
    (Universita' Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Economia)

Abstract

A well-established result of the theory of antitrust policy is that it might be optimal to tolerate some degree of collusion among firms if the Authority in charge is constrained by limited resources and imperfect information. However, few doubts are cast on the common opinion by which stricter enforcement of antitrust laws definitely makes market structure more competitive and prices lower. In this paper we challenge this presumption of effectiveness and show that the introduction of a positive (expected) antitrust fine may drive firms from partial cartels to a monopolistic cartel. Moreover, introducing uncertainty on market demand, we show that the social optimal competition policy can call for a finite or even zero antitrust penalty even if there are no enforcement costs. We first show our results in a Cournot industry with five symmetric firms and equilibrium binding agreements. Then we extend the analysis to the case of n symmetric firms and a generic rule of coalition formation. Finally, we consider the case of asymmetric firms and show that our results still hold for an industry populated by one Stackelberg leader and two followers.

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Paper provided by Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali in its series Working Papers with number 325.

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Length: 25
Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:anc:wpaper:325

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Keywords: antitrust policy; coalition formation; collusive cartels;

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  1. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  2. Marco A. Marini, 2007. "An Overview of Coalitions and Networks Formation Models for Economic Applications," Working Papers 0707, CREI Università degli Studi Roma Tre, revised 2007.
  3. Donsimoni, Marie-Paule, 1985. "Stable heterogeneous cartels," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 451-467, December.
  4. Souam, Said, 2001. "Optimal antitrust policy under different regimes of fines," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-26, January.
  5. Ray, Debraj & Vohra, Rajiv, 1997. "Equilibrium Binding Agreements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 30-78, March.
  6. Philippe Cyrenne, 1999. "On Antitrust Enforcement and the Deterrence of Collusive Behaviour," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 257-272, May.
  7. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 45-76, March.
  8. Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1147, David K. Levine.
  9. Besanko, David & Spulber, Daniel F, 1989. "Antitrust Enforcement under Asymmetric Information," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(396), pages 408-25, June.
  10. Martin, Stephen, 2006. "Competition policy, collusion, and tacit collusion," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1299-1332, November.
  11. Ramon Fauli-Oller, 2000. "Takeover Waves," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 189-210, 06.
  12. Frezal, Sylvestre, 2006. "On optimal cartel deterrence policies," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1231-1240, November.
  13. Joseph E. Harrington, Jr., 2004. "Cartel Pricing Dynamics in the Presence of an Antitrust Authority," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(4), pages 651-673, Winter.
  14. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
  15. Ramon Fauli-Oller, 2000. "Takeover Waves," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(2), pages 189-210, 06.
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Cited by:
  1. Alberto RUSSO, 2012. "A Stochastic Model of Wealth Accumulation with Class Division," Working Papers 373, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  2. David Bartolini & Alberto Zazzaro, 2009. "The Anticompetitive Effects of the Antitrust Policy," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 18, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
  3. Luca RICCETTI, 2011. "A Copula-GARCH Model for Macro Asset Allocation of a Portfolio with Commodities: an Out-of-Sample Analysis," Working Papers 355, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  4. Alessandro STERLACCHINI, 2012. "Patent Oppositions as Competitive Tools: An Analysis of the Major Players in the European Market of White Goods," Working Papers 374, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  5. Lenzu, Simone & Tedeschi, Gabriele, 2012. "Systemic risk on different interbank network topologies," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 391(18), pages 4331-4341.
  6. Elena AMBROSETTI & Eralba CELA & Tineke FOKKEMA, 2011. "The Remittances Behaviour of the Second Generation in Europe: Altruism or Self-Interest?," Working Papers 368, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  7. Ruggero GRILLI & Gabriele TEDESCHI & Mauro GALLEGATI, 2012. "Markets connectivity and financial contagion," Working Papers 382, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  8. Eralba CELA & Tineke FOKKEMA & Elena AMBROSETTI, 2012. "Links Between Transnationalism Integration and Duration of Residence: The Case of eastern European Migrants in Italy," Working Papers 386, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  9. Luca RICCETTI, 2010. "Minimum Tracking Error Volatility," Working Papers 340, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  10. Fabio FIORILLO & Agnese SACCHI, 2010. "I Want to Free-ride. An Opportunistic View on Decentralization Versus Centralization Problem," Working Papers 346, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  11. Ugo FRATESI, 2010. "The National and International Effects;of Regional Policy Choices: Agglomeration Economies, Peripherality and Territorial Characteristics," Working Papers 344, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.

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