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Leniency Programs for Multimarket Firms: The Effect of Amnesty Plus on Cartel Formation

  • Yassine LEFOUILI
  • Catherine ROUX

We examine the effect of the Amnesty Plus policy on firms' incentives to engage in cartel activities. Amnesty Plus is a proactive antitrust enforcement strategy aimed at attracting amnesty applications by encouraging firms already convicted in one market to report collusive agreements in other markets. It has been heavily advertised that Amnesty Plus weakens cartel stability. We show to the contrary that Amnesty Plus does not always have this desirable effect. Only under specific conditions, Amnesty Plus deters a cartel which would have been sustainable under an antitrust policy without Amnesty Plus. Otherwise, Amnesty Plus is either neutral or even stabilizes a cartel. We also show that firms can exploit their multimarket contact to reduce the effectiveness of the Amnesty Plus policy.

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Paper provided by Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP in its series Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) with number 08.05.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:08.05
Contact details of provider: Postal: Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP, Internef, CH-1015 Lausanne
Phone: ++41 21 692.33.64
Web page: http://www.hec.unil.ch/deep/publications/cahiers/series
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  1. Brenner, Steffen, 2009. "An empirical study of the European corporate leniency program," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 639-645, November.
  2. Bigoni, Maria & Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof & Le Coq, Chloé & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2009. "Fines, Leniency and Rewards in Antitrust: an Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 7417, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Jay Pil Choi & Heiko Gerlach, 2012. "International Antitrust Enforcement And Multimarket Contact," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(2), pages 635-658, 05.
  4. Jay Pil Choi & Heiko Gerlach, 2013. "Multi-Market Collusion with Demand Linkages and Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 987-1022, December.
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  6. Catherine ROUX & Thomas VON UNGERN-STERNBERG, 2007. "Leniency Programs in a Multimarket Setting: Amnesty Plus and Penalty Plus," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 07.03, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  7. Aubert, Cécile & Rey, Patrick & Kovacic, William E., 2006. "The impact of leniency and whistle-blowing programs on cartels," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/13637, Paris Dauphine University.
  8. Thomas, Charles J. & Willig, Robert D., 2006. "The risk of contagion from multimarket contact," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1157-1184, November.
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  12. McCutcheon, Barbara, 1997. "Do Meetings in Smoke-Filled Rooms Facilitate Collusion?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 330-50, April.
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  15. Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 1999. "On Interdependent Supergames: Multimarket Contact, Concavity, and Collusion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 127-139, November.
  16. Jose Apesteguia & Martin Dufwenberg & Reinhard Selten, 2007. "Blowing the Whistle," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 143-166, April.
  17. 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.
  18. Joseph E. Harrington, 2008. "OPTIMAL CORPORATE LENIENCY PROGRAMS -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 215-246, 06.
  19. Corwin D. Edwards, 1955. "Conglomerate Bigness as a Source of Power," NBER Chapters, in: Business Concentration and Price Policy, pages 331-359 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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