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The Determination of Optimal Fines in Cartel Cases - The Myth of Underdeterrence

Author

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  • Marie-Laure Allain
  • Marcel Boyer
  • Rachidi Kotchoni
  • Jean-Pierre Ponssard

Abstract

The determination of optimal fines to deter the formation or continuation of cartels is a major objective of competition policy. We provide an analysis of static and dynamic frameworks to characterize the restitution and deterrence properties of fines: cartel stability depends on their ability to prevent deviation by firms, while the benefit of a deviation depends on the fines to be imposed in case of detection by the antitrust authority. We show that the proper consideration of the dynamics of competition has a major impact on the determination of optimal dissuasive fines: our results suggest that a clear majority of fines imposed by the European Commission in recent years meet the deterrence objective. La détermination d'amendes optimales pour dissuader la formation ou la poursuite des cartels est au cur des politiques de concurrence. Nous définissons un cadre stratégique pour caractériser le caractère restitutif et dissuasif des amendes dans des contextes statique et dynamique : la stabilité d'un cartel dépend de sa capacité à prévenir les déviations dont la profitabilité est fonction des amendes imposées lorsque le cartel est découvert. Nous montrons que la prise en compte appropriée de la dynamique de la concurrence a un impact majeur sur la détermination des amendes dissuasives optimales : nos résultats suggèrent qu'une nette majorité des amendes infligées par la Commission Européenne ces dernières années rencontrent l'objectif de dissuasion.

Suggested Citation

  • Marie-Laure Allain & Marcel Boyer & Rachidi Kotchoni & Jean-Pierre Ponssard, 2011. "The Determination of Optimal Fines in Cartel Cases - The Myth of Underdeterrence," CIRANO Working Papers 2011s-34, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2011s-34
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Emilie Dargaud & Andrea Mantovani & Carlo Reggiani, 2013. "The fight against cartels: a transatlantic perspective," Post-Print halshs-00944334, HAL.
    2. Allain, Marie-Laure & Boyer, Marcel & Kotchoni, Rachidi & Ponssard, Jean-Pierre, 2015. "Are cartel fines optimal? Theory and evidence from the European Union," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 38-47.
    3. Fabra, Natalia & Motta, Massimo, 2013. "Antitrust Fines in Times of Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 9290, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Marcel Boyer & Rachidi Kotchoni, 2015. "How Much Do Cartel Overcharge?," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 47(2), pages 119-153, September.
    5. Marcel Boyer & Rachidi Kotchoni, 2012. "How Much Do Cartels Typically Overcharge?," CIRANO Working Papers 2012s-15, CIRANO.
    6. 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.
    7. 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).
    8. Joseph E. Harrington, Jr. & Yanhao Wei, 2014. "What Can the Duration of Discovered Cartels Tell Us About the Duration of Cartels?," PIER Working Paper Archive 14-042, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    9. Harrington, Joseph E., 2014. "Penalties and the deterrence of unlawful collusion," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 33-36.

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    Keywords

    Optimal fines; cartels; Amendes optimales; cartels;

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