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Are Treble Damages Neutral? Sequential Equilibrium and Private Antitrust Enforcement

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  • Besanko, David
  • Spulber, Daniel F

Abstract

A sequential equilibrium model of private antitrust enforcement is presented. Consumers have incomplete information about cartel costs and cannot accurately estimate a priori the damage recovery from an antitrust action. Consumers are able to infer cartel costs from the equilibrium pricing strategy of firms. The universal divinity criterion is used to characterize the sequential equilibrium. It is shown that, for a sufficiently large damage multiple, antitrust enforcement effectively increases social welfare. Copyright 1990 by American Economic Association.

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  • Besanko, David & Spulber, Daniel F, 1990. "Are Treble Damages Neutral? Sequential Equilibrium and Private Antitrust Enforcement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 870-887, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:80:y:1990:i:4:p:870-87
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    Cited by:

    1. Schwartz, Warren F. & Wickelgren, Abraham L., 2011. "Optimal antitrust enforcement: Competitor suits, entry, and post-entry competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 967-972.
    2. Harrington, Joseph Jr. & Chen, Joe, 2006. "Cartel pricing dynamics with cost variability and endogenous buyer detection," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1185-1212, November.
    3. Schinkel Maarten Pieter & Rüggeberg Jakob & Tuinstra Jan, 2003. "Illinois Walls," Research Memorandum 027, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    4. Gianmaria Martini, 2002. "Antitrust Policy and Collusion through Credible Covenants," Working Papers (-2012) 0204, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.
    5. Gianmaria Martini & Cinzia Rovesti, 2004. "Antitrust policy and price collusion. Public agencies vs delegation," Recherches économiques de Louvain, De Boeck Université, vol. 70(2), pages 127-151.
    6. Andreea Cosnita-Langlais & Jean-Philippe Tropeano, 2014. "Institutional Design and Antitrust Evidentiary Standards," Post-Print hal-01668447, HAL.
    7. Le Pape, Nicolas & Zhao, Kai, 2014. "Horizontal mergers and uncertainty," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 8, pages 1-31.
    8. R. Preston McAfee & Hugo Mialon & Sue Mialon, 2005. "Private Versus Public Antitrust Enforcement: A Strategic Analysis," Emory Economics 0523, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    9. Maarten Pieter Schinkel & Jan Tuinstra & Jakob Rüggeberg, 2008. "Illinois Walls: how barring indirect purchaser suits facilitates collusion," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(3), pages 683-698.
    10. Bourjade, Sylvain & Rey, Patrick & Seabright, Paul, 2009. "Private Antitrust Enforcement in the Presence of Pre-Trial Bargaining," IDEI Working Papers 499, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    11. Sylvain Bourjade & Patrick Rey & Paul Seabright, 2009. "PRIVATE ANTITRUST ENFORCEMENT IN THE PRESENCE OF PRE-TRIAL BARGAINING -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 372-409, September.
    12. McAfee, R. Preston & Mialon, Hugo M. & Mialon, Sue H., 2008. "Private v. public antitrust enforcement: A strategic analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1863-1875, October.
    13. Joseph E. Harrington, 2005. "Optimal Cartel Pricing In The Presence Of An Antitrust Authority," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(1), pages 145-169, February.
    14. Joseph E. Harrington, Jr, 2005. "Detecting Cartels," Economics Working Paper Archive 526, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.

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