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Fight Cartels or Control Mergers? On the Optimal Allocation of Enforcement Efforts within Competition Policy

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  • Andreea Cosnita-Langlais
  • Jean-Philippe Tropeano

Abstract

This paper deals with the optimal enforcement of the competition law between the merger and anti-cartel policies. We examine the interaction of these two branches of the competition policy given the budget constraint of the competition agency and taking into account the ensuing incentives for firms’ behavior in terms of choice between cartels and mergers. We are thus able to conclude on the optimal competition policy mix. We show for instance that to the extent that a tougher anti-cartel action triggers more mergers taking place, the public agency will optimally invest only in control fighting for a tight budget, and then in both instruments as soon as the budget is no longer tight. However, if the merger’s coordinated effect is taken into account, then when resources are scarce the agency may optimally have to spend first on controlling mergers before incurring the cost of fighting cartels.

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File URL: http://economix.fr/pdf/dt/2011/WP_EcoX_2011-18.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX in its series EconomiX Working Papers with number 2011-18.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:drm:wpaper:2011-18

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Keywords: competition law enforcement; antitrust; merger control; anti-cartel policy;

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References

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  1. Farrell, J. & Shapiro, C., 1988. "Horizontal Mergers: An Equilibrium Analysis," Papers 17, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  2. Cécile Aubert & Jérôme Pouyet, 2004. "Competition policy, regulation and the institutional design of industry supervision," Recherches économiques de Louvain, De Boeck Université, vol. 70(2), pages 153-168.
  3. Simon J. Evenett & Margaret C. Levenstein & Valerie Y. Suslow, 2001. "International Cartel Enforcement: Lessons from the 1990s," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(9), pages 1221-1245, 09.
  4. Bittlingmayer, George, 1985. "Did Antitrust Policy Cause the Great Merger Wave?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 77-118, April.
  5. Dennis Mueller, 1996. "Antimerger policy in the United States: History and lessons," Empirica, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 229-253, October.
  6. Compte, Olivier & Jenny, Frederic & Rey, Patrick, 2002. "Capacity constraints, mergers and collusion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Tim Reuter, 2013. "Endogenous Cartel Organization and Antitrust Fine Discrimination," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2013-09, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  2. Hüschelrath, Kai & Smuda, Florian, 2013. "Do cartel breakdowns induce mergers? Evidence from EC cartel cases," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-036, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Koski, Heli & Pajarinen, Mika, 2013. "Empirical Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Competition Policy," ETLA Working Papers 15, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.

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