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Illinois Walls: how barring indirect purchaser suits facilitates collusion

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  • Maarten Pieter Schinkel
  • Jan Tuinstra
  • Jakob Rüggeberg

Abstract

In its landmark ruling in Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois in 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court restricted standing to sue for recovery of antitrust damages to direct purchasers. However, antitrust damages are typically (in part) passed on to intermediaries lower in the chain of production and ultimately to consumers. We show that the Illinois Brick rule facilitates collusion. It allows an upstream cartel to shield itself from private damage claims by forwarding a share of cartel profits to its direct purchasers. These benefits dissuade the direct purchasers from exercising their exclusive right to sue for private damages. The cartel can achieve this by rationing inputs at low prices. Several U.S. antitrust cases show symptoms of Illinois Walls. Copyright (c) 2008, RAND.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:39:y:2008:i:3:p:683-698
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    1. repec:eee:indorg:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:353-370 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. F. Maier-Rigaud & R. Inderst & U. Schwalbe, 2013. "Quantifizierung von Schäden durch Wettbewerbsverstöße," Post-Print hal-00845779, HAL.
    3. Reisinger, Markus & Thomes, Tim Paul, 2017. "Manufacturer collusion: Strategic implications of the channel structure," DICE Discussion Papers 261, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    4. Frank Verboven & Theon Van Dijk, 2007. "Cartel damages claims and the passing-on defense," Working Papers Department of Economics ces0715, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
    5. Boone, Jan & Müller, Wieland, 2012. "The distribution of harm in price-fixing cases," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 265-276.
    6. Salvatore Piccolo & Markus Reisinger, 2011. "Exclusive Territories and Manufacturers' Collusion," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(7), pages 1250-1266, July.
    7. Salvatore Piccolo & Jeanine Miklós-Thal, 2012. "Colluding through suppliers," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(3), pages 492-513, September.
    8. Frank Maier-Rigaud, 2013. "Towards a European Directive on Damages Actions," Working Papers 2013-ECO-16, IESEG School of Management.
    9. Iwan Bos & Maarten Pieter Schinkel, 2009. "Tracing the Base: A Topographic Test for Collusive Basing-Point Pricing," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-007/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. Frank Maier-Rigaud & Ulrich Schwalbe, 2013. "Quantification of Antitrust Damages," Working Papers 2013-ECO-09, IESEG School of Management.
    11. Teichmann, Isabel & von Schlippenbach, Vanessa, 2015. "Collusive effects of a monopolist's use of an intermediary to deliver to retailers," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112948, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. 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.
    13. Schinkel, M.P. & Tuinstra, J., 2005. "Illinois Walls in alternative market structures," CeNDEF Working Papers 05-11, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Economics and Finance.
    14. Isabel Teichmann & Vanessa von Schlippenbach, 2014. "Collusive Effects of a Monopolist's Use of an Intermediary to Deliver to Retailers," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1440, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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