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Cartel detection in procurement markets

  • Hüschelrath, Kai
  • Veith, Tobias

Cartel detection is usually viewed as a key task of either competition authorities or compliance officials in firms with an elevated risk of cartelization. We argue that customers of hard core cartels can have both incentives and possibilities to detect such agreements on their own initiative through the use of market-specific data sets. We apply a unique data set of about 340,000 market transactions from 36 smaller and larger customers of German cement producers and show that a price screen would have allowed particularly larger customers to detect the upstream cement cartel before the competition authority. The results not only suggest that monitoring procurement markets through screening tools has the potential of substantial cost reductions - thereby improving the competitive position of the respective user firms - but also allow the conclusion that competition authorities should view customers of potentially cartelized industries as important allies in their endeavour to fight hard core cartels.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 11-066.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:11066
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  1. Korbinian Blanckenburg & Alexander Geist, 2011. "Detecting illegal activities: the case of cartels," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 15-33, August.
  2. Ali Hortacsu & Chad Syverson, 2007. "Cementing Relationships: Vertical Integration, Foreclosure, Productivity, and Prices," NBER Working Papers 12894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hüschelrath, Kai & Veith, Tobias, 2011. "The impact of cartelization on pricing dynamics: Evidence from the German cement industry," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-067, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  4. Robert H. Porter & J. Douglas Zona, 1992. "Detection of Bid Rigging in Procurement Auctions," NBER Working Papers 4013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bryant, Peter G & Eckard, E Woodrow, Jr, 1991. "Price Fixing: The Probability of Getting Caught," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(3), pages 531-36, August.
  6. Christian Lorenz, 2008. "Screening markets for cartel detection: collusive markers in the CFD cartel-audit," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 213-232, October.
  7. Robert H. Porter & J. Douglas Zona, 1997. "Ohio School Milk Markets: An Analysis of Bidding," NBER Working Papers 6037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Patrick Bajari & Lixin Ye, 2003. "Deciding Between Competition and Collusion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 971-989, November.
  9. Lars-Hendrik R�ller & Frode Steen, 2006. "On the Workings of a Cartel: Evidence from the Norwegian Cement Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 321-338, March.
  10. de Roos, Nicolas, 2006. "Examining models of collusion: The market for lysine," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1083-1107, November.
  11. Hans W. Friederiszick & Lars-Hendrik Röller, 2010. "Quantification of harm in damages actions for antitrust infringements: Insights from German cartel cases," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-10-001, ESMT European School of Management and Technology.
  12. Abrantes-Metz, Rosa M. & Froeb, Luke M. & Geweke, John & Taylor, Christopher T., 2006. "A variance screen for collusion," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 467-486, May.
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