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The impact of cartelization on pricing dynamics: Evidence from the German cement industry

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  • Hüschelrath, Kai
  • Veith, Tobias

Abstract

Although the pricing dynamics of hardcore cartels have been studied intensively from a theoretical perspective, empirical evidence is still rare. We combine publicly available data with a unique private data set of about 340,000 market transactions from 36 smaller and larger customers of German cement producers to study the pricing dynamics during and after the breakdown of a German cement cartel. We find that, first, after the breakdown of the cartel, cartel members reduce net prices to a far larger extent than gross prices and that, second, noncartel members slip under the price umbrella of the cartel to increase profits. Our results have important implications for both the design of screening tools to detect cartels as part of public enforcement and the calculation of damages as part of private enforcement of competition law.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:11067
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kai Hüschelrath & Tobias Veith, 2014. "Cartel Detection in Procurement Markets," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(6), pages 404-422, September.
    2. Harrington, Joseph E. & Hüschelrath, Kai & Laitenberger, Ulrich & Smuda, Florian, 2015. "The discontent cartel member and cartel collapse: The case of the German cement cartel," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 106-119.
    3. Boyer, Marcel & Faye, Anne Catherine & Kotchoni, Rachidi, 2017. "Challenges and Pitfalls in Cartel Policy and Fining," TSE Working Papers 17-852, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    4. Fink, Nikolaus & Frübing, Stefan, 2015. "Legal and illegal cartels in the European cement industry," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-066, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    5. Doose, Anna Maria, 2013. "Methods for calculating cartel damages: A survey," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 83, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.
    6. Stefania Grezzana, 2016. "Lost In Time And Space: The Deterrence Effect Of Cartel Busts On The Retail Gasoline Market," Anais do XLIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 43rd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 158, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

    More about this item

    Keywords

    antitrust policy; cartels; umbrella pricing; net prices; cement; screening; damages;

    JEL classification:

    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • L61 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Metals and Metal Products; Cement; Glass; Ceramics
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law

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