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Crime and punishment: When tougher antitrust enforcement leads to higher overcharge

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Author Info

  • Jensen, Sissel

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics)

  • Kvaløy, Ola

    ()
    (UiS Business School, University of Stavanger)

  • Olsen, Trond E.

    ()
    (Dept. of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics)

  • Sørgard, Lars

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics)

Abstract

The economics of crime and punishment postulates that higher punishment leads to lower crime levels, or less severe crime. It is however hard to get empirical support for this rather intuitive relationship. This paper offers a model that can contribute to explain why this is the case. We show that if criminals can spend resources to reduce the probability of being detected, then a higher general punishment level can increase the crime level. In the context of antitrust enforcement, the model shows that competition authorities who attempt to fight cartels by means of tougher sanctions for all offenders may actually lead cartels to increase their overcharge when leniency programs are in place.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 2013/5.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 27 May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhhfms:2013_005

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Postal: NHH, Department of Business and Management Science, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Phone: +47 55 95 92 93
Fax: +47 55 95 96 50
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Web page: http://www.nhh.no/en/research-faculty/department-of-business-and-management-science.aspx
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Keywords: Antitrust enforcement; leniency programs; economics of crime;

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  1. Bageri, Vasiliki & Katsoulacos, Yannis & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2013. "The Distortive Effects of Antitrust Fines Based on Revenue," CEPR Discussion Papers 9518, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. George J. Stigler, 1974. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 55-67 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Aubert, Cecile & Rey, Patrick & Kovacic, William E., 2006. "The impact of leniency and whistle-blowing programs on cartels," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1241-1266, November.
  4. Zhijun Chen & Patrick Rey, 2013. "On the Design of Leniency Programs," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 917 - 957.
  5. Eric Langlais, 2007. "Detection avoidance and deterrence: some paradoxical arithmetics," Working Papers of BETA 2007-06, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
  6. Mohamed Jellal & Saïd Souam, 2004. "Delegation, Incentives and Antitrust Enforcement," Working Papers 2004-41, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  7. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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