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Endogenous Cartel Organization and Antitrust Fine Discrimination

  • Tim Reuter

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany)

Third parties such as trade associations often assist cartels by collecting and evaluating market behaviour at the firm level. Under incomplete information neutral market oversight helps to distinguish defecting from complying behaviour, increasing the effectiveness of punishments for defectors and increasing cartel persistence. We investigate how cartels sort themselves into different organizational forms and whether cartel enforcement can be improved by setting fines contingent on the organizational form. A fine reduction for firms operating without the help of a third party causes some cartels to switch to a less persistent organizational form. Two drawbacks of this fine differentiation are that some new cartels will arise and that some of the existing cartels will become more persistent as the need to punish defectors decreases. Our paper is the first in the marginal deterrence literature to identify this second effect.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Konstanz in its series Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz with number 2013-09.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 06 May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:knz:dpteco:1309
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  1. Jay Pil Choi & Heiko Gerlach, 2009. "International Antitrust Enforcement and Multi-Market Contact," CESifo Working Paper Series 2599, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Andreea Cosnita-Langlais & Jean-Philippe Tropeano, 2011. "Fight Cartels or Control Mergers? On the Optimal Allocation of Enforcement Efforts within Competition Policy," EconomiX Working Papers 2011-18, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  3. Joseph E. Harrington & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2011. "Private Monitoring and Communication in Cartels: Explaining Recent Collusive Practices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2425-49, October.
  4. Besanko, David & Spulber, Daniel F, 1989. "Antitrust Enforcement under Asymmetric Information," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(396), pages 408-25, June.
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  7. Masaki Aoyagi, 2005. "Collusion through mediated communication in repeated games with imperfect private monitoring," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 455-475, 02.
  8. Athey, Susan & Bagwell, Kyle, 2001. "Optimal Collusion with Private Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 428-65, Autumn.
  9. David Genesove & Wallace P. Mullin, 2001. "Rules, Communication, and Collusion: Narrative Evidence from the Sugar Institute Case," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 379-398, June.
  10. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell & Chris Sanchirico, 1998. "Collusion and Price Rigidity," Working papers 98-23, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 2005. "The Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 11780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, June.
  14. Bartolini David & Zazzaro Alberto, 2011. "The Impact of Antitrust Fines on the Formation of Collusive Cartels," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 30, September.
  15. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1989. "Legal Error, Litigation, and the Incentive to Obey the Law," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 99-108, Spring.
  16. Bryant, Peter G & Eckard, E Woodrow, Jr, 1991. "Price Fixing: The Probability of Getting Caught," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(3), pages 531-36, August.
  17. Margaret C. Levenstein & Valerie Y. Suslow, 2011. "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Determinants of Cartel Duration," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(2), pages 455 - 492.
  18. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  19. Shavell, Steven, 1992. "A note on marginal deterrence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 345-355, September.
  20. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521016919 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1147, David K. Levine.
  22. Gal-Or, Esther, 1985. "Information Sharing in Oligopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 329-43, March.
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