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How Much Do Cartels Overcharge?

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  • Boyer, Marcel
  • Kotchoni, Rachidi

Abstract

The estimation of cartel overcharges lies at the heart of antitrust policy on cartel prosecution as it constitutes a key element in the determination of fines. Connor and Lande (2008) conducted a survey of cartels and found a mean overcharge estimate in the range of 31% to 49%. By examining more sources, Connor (2010) finds a mean of 50.4% for successful cartels. However, the data used in those studies are estimates obtained from different methodologies, sources and contexts rather than from direct observations. Therefore, these data are subject to model error, estimation error, endogeneity bias, and publication bias. An examination of the Connor database reveals that the universe of overcharge estimate is asymmetric, heterogenous and contains a number of influential observations. Beside the fact that overcharge estimates are potentially biased, fitting a linear regression model to the data without providing a carefull treatment of the problems raised above may produce distorted results. We conduct a meta-analysis of cartel overcharge estimates in the spirit of Connor and Bolotova (2006) while providing a sound treatment of these matters. We find bias-corrected mean and median overcharge estimates of 15.47% and 16.01%. Clearly, our results have significant antitrust policy implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Boyer, Marcel & Kotchoni, Rachidi, 2014. "How Much Do Cartels Overcharge?," TSE Working Papers 14-462, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Jul 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:27872
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Marcel Boyer & Anne Catherine Faye & Rachidi Kotchoni, 2017. "Challenges and Pitfalls in Cartel Policy and Fining," CIRANO Working Papers 2017s-20, CIRANO.
    2. Matthias Firgo & Agnes K├╝gler, 2014. "Ski Networks and their Effects on Pricing in Austrian Skiing Regions," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 87(12), pages 851-862, December.
    3. World Bank Group, 2016. "South Africa Economic Update, February 2016," World Bank Other Operational Studies 23762, The World Bank.
    4. Katsoulacos, Yannis & Motchenkova, Evgenia & Ulph, David, 2015. "Penalizing cartels: The case for basing penalties on price overcharge," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 70-80.
    5. Marcel Boyer & Rachidi Kotchoni, 2015. "How Much Do Cartel Overcharge? (The "Working Paper" Version)," CIRANO Working Papers 2015s-37, CIRANO.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Antitrust; Cartel overcharges; Heckman; Heckit; Kullback-Leibler divergence; Meta-analysis;

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