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From Overt to Tacit Collusion

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  • Jeroen Hinloopen

    ()
    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Adriaan Soetevent

    ()
    (University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

Recent laboratory experiments support the popular view that the introduction of corporate leniency programs has significantly decreased cartel activity. The design of these repeated game experiments however is such that engaging in illegal price discussions is the only way for subjects to avoid the one-shot competitive equilibrium. Subjects in the experiment of this paper have multiple feasible Nash equilibrium strategies to avoid the competitive equilibrium. These strategies differ in the difficulty of the coordination problem they have to solve. The experimental results show that if the efforts of the antitrust authority and the leniency program are directed exclusively to the most straightforward collusive scheme, subjects manage to switch to a more intricate form of coordination. This shift from overt collusion to tacit collusion questions the acclaimed success of corporate leniency programs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 08-059/1.

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Date of creation: 09 Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20080059

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Related research

Keywords: overt collusion; tacit collusion; corporate leniency program; antitrust policy;

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  1. Bigoni, Maria & Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof & Le Coq, Chloé & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2009. "Fines, Leniency and Rewards in Antitrust: an Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 7417, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Motta, Massimo & Polo, Michele, 2003. "Leniency programs and cartel prosecution," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 347-379, March.
  3. Jose Apesteguia & Martin Dufwenberg & Reinhard Selten, 2007. "Blowing the Whistle," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 143-166, April.
  4. Charles A. Holt & Monica Capra, . "Classroom Games: A Prisoner's Dilemma," Virginia Economics Online Papers 330, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  5. Bigoni, Maria & Le Coq, Chloé & Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2008. "Risk Aversion, Prospect Theory, and Strategic Risk in Law Enforcement: Evidence From an Antitrust Experiment," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 696, Stockholm School of Economics.
  6. Jeroen Hinloopen & Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2008. "Laboratory evidence on the effectiveness of corporate leniency programs," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 607-616.
  7. Bigoni, Maria & Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof & Le Coq, Chloe & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2008. "Fines, Leniency, Rewards and Organized Crime: Evidence from Antitrust Experiments," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 698, Stockholm School of Economics.
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