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How Much Do Cartels Overcharge?

  • Boyer, Marcel
  • Kotchoni, Rachidi

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 by direct observations. Therefore, these data are subject to model error, estimation error and publication bias. A quick 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 estimate 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 estimate in the spirit of Connor and Bolotova (2006) while providing a sound treatment of these matters. We find a bias-corrected mean and median overcharge estimate of 15.76% and 16.43%. Clearly, our results have significant antitrust policy implications.

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Paper provided by Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) in its series TSE Working Papers with number 14-462.

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Date of creation: 31 Jan 2014
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Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:27872
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