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Determination of optimal penalties for antitrust violations in a dynamic setting

  • Motchenkova, Evgenia

We analyze a differential game describing the interactions between a firm that might be violating competition law and the antitrust authority. The objective of the authority is to minimize social costs (loss in consumer surplus) induced by an increase in prices above marginal costs. It turns out that the penalty schemes which are used now in EU and US legislation appear not to be as efficient as desired from the point of view of minimization of consumer loss from price-fixing activities of the firm. In particular, we prove that full compliance behavior is not sustainable as a Nash Equilibrium in Markovian strategies over the whole planning period, and, moreover, that it will never arise as the long-run steady-state equilibrium of the model. We also investigate the question which penalty system enables us to completely deter cartel formation in a dynamic setting. We found that this socially desirable outcome can be achieved in case the penalty is an increasing function of the degree of offence and is negatively related to the probability of law enforcement.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Operational Research.

Volume (Year): 189 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (August)
Pages: 269-291

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:189:y:2008:i:1:p:269-291
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eor

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  1. Motchenkova, E., 2004. "Effects of Leniency Programs on Cartel Stability," Discussion Paper 2004-98, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Motta, Massimo & Polo, Michele, 2003. "Leniency programs and cartel prosecution," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 347-379, March.
  3. Leung, S.F., 1991. "How to Make the Fine Fit the Corporate Crime? An Analysis of Static and Dynamic Optimal Punishment Theories," RCER Working Papers 261, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  5. Souam, Said, 2001. "Optimal antitrust policy under different regimes of fines," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-26, January.
  6. 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.
  7. R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), 1989. "Handbook of Industrial Organization," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1.
  8. Nuno Garoupa, 2000. "Optimal magnitude and probability of fines," Economics Working Papers 454, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  9. Joseph E Harrington Jr, 2002. "Cartel Pricing Dynamics in the Presence of an Antitrust Authority," Economics Working Paper Archive 487, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised May 2003.
  10. Heckman, James J. & Singer, Burton, 1986. "Econometric analysis of longitudinal data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1689-1763 Elsevier.
  11. 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, 02.
  12. Gustav Feichtinger, 1983. "A Differential Games Solution to a Model of Competition Between a Thief and the Police," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(6), pages 686-699, June.
  13. Morton I. Kamien & Nancy L. Schwartz, 1971. "Optimal Maintenance and Sale Age for a Machine Subject to Failure," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(8), pages B495-B504, April.
  14. Dockner,Engelbert J. & Jorgensen,Steffen & Long,Ngo Van & Sorger,Gerhard, 2000. "Differential Games in Economics and Management Science," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521637329, September.
  15. R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), 1989. "Handbook of Industrial Organization," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 2, number 2.
  16. Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2004. "Divide et Impera: Optimal Leniency Programmes," CEPR Discussion Papers 4840, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Motchenkova, E. & Laan, R., 2005. "Strictness of Leniency Programs and Cartels of Asymmetric Firms," Discussion Paper 2005-74, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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