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Discovering Cartels: Dynamic Interrelationships between Civil and Criminal Antitrust Investigations

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  • Ghosal, Vivek

Abstract

This paper focuses on the genesis, taxonomy and timeline of U.S. criminal antitrust investigations, and uses time-series data on enforcement to examine the interrelationships between the various criminal enforcement variables as well as the linkages between criminal and civil enforcement. The key findings are: (1) there appears to be considerable dynamic interplay between the criminal variables. For example, an increase in grand jury investigations or criminal cases initiated or the number of individuals or firms convicted generates increases in most of these (endogenous) variables in future periods. A broad conclusion that can be drawn is that information unearthed during a given criminal investigation and prosecution often reveals information about other conspiracies leading to future investigations and prosecutions; (2) an increase in civil enforcement leads to future increases in the criminal cases and firms and individuals convicted. This suggests that information gleaned during civil investigations, such as mergers or monopolization cases, may reveal information about collusive behavior in markets leading to criminal investigations and prosecutions; and (3) criminal enforcement follows a counter-cyclical pattern with the number of criminal cases prosecuted increasing following an economic downturn. We relate this to the literature which points to cartel instability during economic downturns. Overall, our results point to complementarities in the investigative process within different facets of criminal investigations as well as between criminal and civil investigations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 5499.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:5499

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Keywords: Cartels; Antitrust Enforcement; Prosecution; Business Cycles;

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  1. Andrews, Donald W K, 1993. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 821-56, July.
  2. Robert Porter, 2005. "Detecting Collusion," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 147-167, December.
  3. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1994. "Evidence on Structural Instability in Macroeconomic Time Series Relations," NBER Technical Working Papers 0164, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dick, Andrew R, 1996. "When Are Cartels Stable Contracts?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(1), pages 241-83, April.
  5. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
  6. repec:reg:wpaper:263 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. John Connor, 2006. "Effectiveness of Antitrust Sanctions on Modern International Cartels," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 195-223, December.
  8. Jonathan B. Baker, 2003. "The Case for Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 27-50, Fall.
  9. Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1147, David K. Levine.
  10. Block, Michael K & Feinstein, Jonathan S, 1986. "The Spillover Effect of Antitrust Enforcement," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(1), pages 122-31, February.
  11. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  12. Ghosal, Vivek, 2007. "Regime Shift in Antitrust," MPRA Paper 5460, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Ghosal, Vivek & Gallo, Joseph, 2001. "The cyclical behavior of the Department of Justice's antitrust enforcement activity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 27-54, January.
  14. Slade, Margaret E., 1990. "Strategic pricing models and interpretation of price-war data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(2-3), pages 524-537, May.
  15. Robert W. Crandall & Clifford Winston, 2003. "Does Antitrust Policy Improve Consumer Welfare? Assessing the Evidence," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
  16. Buccirossi, Paolo & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2006. "Optimal Fines in the Era of Whistleblowers," CEPR Discussion Papers 5465, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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