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Antitrust Policy and Collusion through Credible Covenants


  • Gianmaria Martini

    () (Department of Economics, University of Bergamo)


This paper presents a political economy model of antitrust policy against horizontal price-fixing. The policy is implemented through discretion. In the event of collusion the public agency can enforce competition through fines and behavioral constraints. The paper shows that while fines do not constitute an incentive to investigate in the event of collusion when the policy is implemented through discretion, behavioral constraints are an effective tool in limiting collusion. However firms can strategically induce that no policy is implemented along the equilibrium path by making a credible "covenant" that little degree of collusion will be implemented today and in the future. Moreover, if firms have limited information about agency’s costs, social welfare rises up, while if the agency has limited information about production costs, the efficient cartel type increase its rents.

Suggested Citation

  • Gianmaria Martini, 2002. "Antitrust Policy and Collusion through Credible Covenants," Working Papers (-2012) 0204, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:brg:wpaper:0204

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Salant, Stephen W, 1987. "Treble Damage Awards in Private Lawsuits for Price Fixing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1326-1336, December.
    2. Besanko, David & Spulber, Daniel F, 1990. "Are Treble Damages Neutral? Sequential Equilibrium and Private Antitrust Enforcement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 870-887, September.
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    More about this item


    credible covenants; collusion costs; antitrust policy; horizontal price-fixing; behavioral constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices


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