Cartel Ringleaders and the Corporate Leniency Program
CCP Working Paper 11-13
23 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 15, 2011
Cartel ringleaders can apply for amnesty in some jurisdictions (e.g., the E.U.), whereas in others they are excluded (e.g., the U.S.). This paper provides a survey of identified ringleaders in recent European cartel cases and explores theoretically the effect of ringleader exclusion on collusive prices. Our survey shows that cartels often had more than one ringleader, the role of ringleaders was very diverse and ringleaders were typically the largest cartel members. Our theoretical analysis reveals that ringleader exclusion leads to higher prices when the joint profit maximum cannot be sustained under a non-discriminatory leniency policy, antitrust fines depend on individual cartel gains in a nonlinear fashion and the size distribution of members is sufficiently heterogeneous. These findings support the imposition of antitrust penalties proportional to firm size when ringleaders are excluded from the corporate leniency program.
Keywords: cartels, leniency program, ringleader
JEL Classification: L1, L4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation