Using Accounting Data in Cartel Damage Calculations – Blessing or Menace?
Standard methods for calculating cartel-damages rely on data of prices charged and quantity sold. Such data may not easily be available. In this paper, it is shown that a lower bound for cartel-damages can also be computed from accounting data. In previous literature it is shown that economic profits can hardly be inferred from accounting data. Therefore, it is shown under which econometrically testable assumptions on accounting costs a meaningful lower bound for cartel damages can consistently be estimated from accounting data. An estimation of cartel-damages is performed for four vitamins producers that participated in the vitamins cartel. The results indicate that both the aggregation-level and the publication-frequency of accounting data pose a challenge to the estimation of cartel damages. A further challenge is to appropriately reflect the strength respectively effectiveness of the collusive agreement in the specification of any such estimation.
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