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Prosecution and Leniency Programs: a Fool's Game

  • Sauvagnat, Julien

We present a model where the Antitrust Authority is privately informed about the strength of the case against a given cartel. In this context, the Antitrust Authority may obtain cartel members' confessions even when it opens an investigation knowing that it has no chance to find hard evidence. More generally, we show that offering leniency allows to raise the conviction rate, which in turn enhances cartel desistance and cartel deterrence. A second contribution of the paper is to show that the optimal leniency scheme involves a single informant rule. That is, amnesty should be given only if a unique cartel member reports information.

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Paper provided by Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) in its series TSE Working Papers with number 10-188.

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Date of creation: 16 Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:23201
Contact details of provider: Phone: (+33) 5 61 12 86 23
Web page: http://www.tse-fr.eu/

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  1. Motta, Massimo & Polo, Michele, 2003. "Leniency programs and cartel prosecution," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 347-379, March.
  2. Buccirossi, Paolo & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2006. "Leniency policies and illegal transactions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1281-1297, August.
  3. Nathan H. Miller, 2009. "Strategic Leniency and Cartel Enforcement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 750-68, June.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Frezal, Sylvestre, 2006. "On optimal cartel deterrence policies," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1231-1240, November.
  7. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  8. José Apesteguía & Martin Dufwenberg & Reinhard Selten, 2003. "Blowing the Whistle," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 0303, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra, revised 2003.
  9. 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.
  10. Joseph E. Harrington & Myong-Hun Chang, 2009. "Modeling the Birth and Death of Cartels with an Application to Evaluating Competition Policy," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1400-1435, December.
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