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The Impact of Antitrust Fines on the Formation of Collusive Cartels

Listed author(s):
  • Bartolini David

    ()

    (Università Politecnica delle Marche)

  • Zazzaro Alberto

    ()

    (Università Politecnica delle Marche)

The literature on collusive cartels has mainly focused on the impact of antitrust fines on the sustainability of cartels, in infinitely repeated games. This approach, however, does not allow us to study the effect of antitrust fines on the incentives to form cartels in the first place. In this paper, we adopt a coalitional game approach to modeling collusive agreements, showing that antitrust fines may drive firms from partial cartels to a monopolistic cartel. Moreover, by introducing uncertainty on market demand, we show that the socially optimal competition policy can call for a finite or even zero antitrust penalty, even if there are no enforcement costs. We provide a sufficient condition for these results to apply to any coalitional game of cartel formation with symmetric firms. Then, we discuss the extension to asymmetric firms and dynamic collusion.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 11 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 1-30

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:11:y:2011:i:1:n:58
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  1. Marco A. Marini, 2007. "An Overview of Coalitions and Networks Formation Models for Economic Applications," Working Papers 0707, CREI Università degli Studi Roma Tre, revised 2007.
  2. Ray, Debraj, 2007. "A Game-Theoretic Perspective on Coalition Formation," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199207954.
  3. David Bartolini & Alberto Zazzaro, 2009. "The Anticompetitive Effects of the Antitrust Policy," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 18, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
  4. James W. Friedman, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(1), pages 1-12.
  5. Besanko, David & Spulber, Daniel F, 1989. "Antitrust Enforcement under Asymmetric Information," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(396), pages 408-425, June.
  6. Philippe Cyrenne, 1999. "On Antitrust Enforcement and the Deterrence of Collusive Behaviour," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 14(3), pages 257-272, May.
  7. Marc Escrihuela-Villar, 2008. "On endogenous cartel size under tacit collusion," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 32(3), pages 325-338, September.
  8. Saïd Souam, 1997. "Optimal Antitrust Policy Under Different Regimes of Fines," Working Papers 97-37, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
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