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Crime and punishment: When tougher antitrust enforcement leads to higher overcharge

Author

Listed:
  • Jensen, Sissel

    () (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Kvaløy, Ola

    () (University of Stavanger)

  • Olsen, Trond E.

    () (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Sorgard, Lars

    () (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

Abstract

The economics of crime and punishment postulates that higher punishment leads to lower crime levels, or less severe crime. It is however hard to get empirical support for this intuitive relationship. This paper o¤ers a model that contributes to explain why this is the case. We show that if criminals can spend resources to reduce the probability of being detected, then a higher general punishment level can increase the crime level. In the context of antitrust enforcement, it is shown that competition authorities who attempt to …ght cartels by means of tougher sanctions for all o¤enders may actually lead cartels to increase their overcharge when leniency programs are in place.

Suggested Citation

  • Jensen, Sissel & Kvaløy, Ola & Olsen, Trond E. & Sorgard, Lars, 2013. "Crime and punishment: When tougher antitrust enforcement leads to higher overcharge," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 4/2013, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhheco:2013_004
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Zhijun Chen & Patrick Rey, 2013. "On the Design of Leniency Programs," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 917-957.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Arun S. Malik, 1990. "Avoidance, Screening and Optimum Enforcement," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(3), pages 341-353, Autumn.
    4. Eric Langlais, 2008. "Detection Avoidance and Deterrence: Some Paradoxical Arithmetic," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(3), pages 371-382, June.
    5. Vasiliki Bageri & Yannis Katsoulacos & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2013. "The Distortive Effects of Antitrust Fines Based on Revenue," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(11), pages 545-557, November.
    6. George J. Stigler, 1974. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 55-67 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Keith N. Hylton, 1996. "Optimal Law Enforcement and Victim Precaution," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 197-206, Spring.
    8. Mohamed Jellal & Saïd Souam, 2004. "Delegation, Incentives and Antitrust Enforcement," Working Papers 2004-41, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    9. Joseph E. Harrington, 2008. "OPTIMAL CORPORATE LENIENCY PROGRAMS -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 215-246, June.
    10. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    antitrust enforcement; leniency programs; economics of crime.;

    JEL classification:

    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law

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