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Cartel Organization and Antitrust Enforcement

CCP Working Paper No. 08-21

30 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2008  

Date Written: April 11, 2008


This paper incorporates the economic theory of organizations into the framework of public law enforcement, and characterizes the dual-coalition structure of cartel organization that allows us to highlight the strategic interactions between cartel participants under different antitrust policies. We show that delegation of authorities over collusive decisions from top executives to subordinates can mitigate the temptation of renege on collusive relationships and thus contributes to facilitating collusion. This result parallels the insights in Baker, Gibbons and Murphy (2002, 2006) which find that the optimal allocation of decision rights is to minimize the maximum temptation to renege on relational contracts. Moreover, the efficiency gains of delegation in facilitating collusion can be mitigated when the corporate leniency program is introduced, in particular whenever it is unlikely to detect cartels absent leniency and the corporate liability is muc more significant than individual liability.

Keywords: cartel organization, antitrust enforcement, leniency programs

JEL Classification: D23, K21, L41

Suggested Citation

Chen, Zhijun, Cartel Organization and Antitrust Enforcement (April 11, 2008). CCP Working Paper No. 08-21. Available at SSRN: or

No contact information is available for Zhijun Chen

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