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Leniency programs for multimarket firms: The effect of Amnesty Plus on cartel formation

  • Lefouili, Yassine
  • Roux, Catherine

We examine the effect of Amnesty Plus on dynamic cartel formation in a multimarket setting. The Amnesty Plus program has been adopted as part of the US Corporate Leniency Policy in 1999 and is now vigorously advertised as one of the most compelling tools in generating successful cartel investigations. Amnesty Plus is aimed at attracting amnesty applications by encouraging firms, convicted in one market, to report their collusive agreements in other markets. We show that Amnesty Plus has two opposite effects on firms' ability and incentives to collude which are both increasing in the fine reduction granted. First, Amnesty Plus can reduce the deterrence of cartel activities by making it easier for firms to sustain multimarket collusion through strategies involving self-reporting after a first cartel detection. Second, it can reduce the expected duration of cartels or delay their formation by increasing firms' incentives to self-report after a first cartel detection.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 30 (2012)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 624-640

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Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:30:y:2012:i:6:p:624-640
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

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  1. Aubert, Cecile & Rey, Patrick & Kovacic, William E., 2006. "The impact of leniency and whistle-blowing programs on cartels," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1241-1266, November.
  2. José Apesteguia & Martin Dufwenberg & Reinhard Selten, 2003. "Blowing the Whistle," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse9_2003, University of Bonn, Germany.
  3. Catherine Roux & Thomas von Ungern-Sternberg, 2007. "Leniency Programs in a Multimarket Setting: Amnesty Plus and Penalty Plus," CESifo Working Paper Series 1995, CESifo Group Munich.
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  13. Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2004. "Divide et Impera: Optimal Leniency Programmes," CEPR Discussion Papers 4840, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1990. "Multimarket Contact and Collusive Behavior," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 1-26, Spring.
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  17. Bigoni, Maria & Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof & Le Coq, Chloé & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2008. "Fines, Leniency and Rewards in Antitrust: An Experiment," Working Paper Series 738, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 06 Aug 2009.
  18. Jeroen Hinloopen & Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2008. "Laboratory evidence on the effectiveness of corporate leniency programs," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 607-616.
  19. Joseph E. Harrington, 2008. "OPTIMAL CORPORATE LENIENCY PROGRAMS -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 215-246, 06.
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