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Antitrust enforcement with price-dependent fines and detection probabilities


  • Harold Houba

    () (VU University of Amsterdam)

  • Evgenia Motchenkova

    () (VU University of Amsterdam)

  • Quan Wen

    () (Vanderbilt University)


We analyze the effectiveness of antitrust enforcement in repeated oligopoly models in which both fines and detection probabilities depend on the cartel price. Such fines reflect actual guidelines. Inspections based on monitoring of market prices imply endogenous detection probabilities. Without monitoring, fines that are either fixed or proportional to illegal gains cannot eradicate the monopoly price, but more-than-proportional fines can. Policy design with inspections based on price-monitoring implies that the profit-maximizing cartel price always lies below the monopoly price independently of the fine structure. These results offer partial support for the current practice of monitoring and more-than-proportional fines.

Suggested Citation

  • Harold Houba & Evgenia Motchenkova & Quan Wen, 2010. "Antitrust enforcement with price-dependent fines and detection probabilities," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(3), pages 2017-2027.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-10-00308

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    Cited by:

    1. Katsoulacos, Yannis & Motchenkova, Evgenia & Ulph, David, 2015. "Penalizing cartels: The case for basing penalties on price overcharge," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 70-80.
    2. Houba Harold & Motchenkova Evgenia & Wen Quan, 2015. "The Effects of Leniency on Cartel Pricing," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 15(2), pages 351-389, July.
    3. Florence THEPOT & Jacques THEPOT, 2017. "Collusion, Managerial incentives and antitrust fines," Working Papers of LaRGE Research Center 2017-06, Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie (LaRGE), Université de Strasbourg.
    4. Yannis Katsoulacos & Evgenia (E.) Motchenkova & David Ulph, 2017. "Penalising on the basis of the severity of the offence: A sophisticated revenue-based cartel penalty," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-120/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. Katsoulacos, Yannis & Motchenkova, Evgenia & Ulph, David, 2014. "Penalizing Cartels: The Case for Basing Penalties on Price Overcharge," 2007 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 1, 2007, Portland, Oregon TN 2015-15, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).

    More about this item


    Repeated game; Cartel; Oligopoly; Antitrust enforcement; Competition policy;

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies


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