Do Discriminatory Leniency Policies Fight Hard-Core Cartels?

Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Forthcoming

31 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2013 Last revised: 16 Jul 2018

Georg Clemens

Compass Lexecon

Holger Andreas Rau

University of Mannheim

Date Written: April 1, 2018


This paper experimentally analyzes the effects of non-discriminatory and discriminatory leniency policies on hard-core cartels. We design a mechanism to form a hard-core cartel, which allows that multiple ringleaders emerge. Ringleaders often take a leading role in the coordination and formation of hard-core cartels. A leniency policy which grants amnesty to all "whistleblowers'" except for ringleaders may therefore reduce the incentive to become a ringleader and disrupt cartel formation. Yet, our experimental results show that whistleblowing rarely occurs. Paradoxically the discriminatory leniency policy induces firms to become ringleaders. We find that firms create trust among other firms when acting as ringleaders. This signaling effect ultimately facilitates coordination in the explicit cartel.

Keywords: Cartels, Experiment, Leniency Programs, Ringleader Discrimination

JEL Classification: C92, K21, L41

Suggested Citation

Clemens, Georg and Rau, Holger Andreas, Do Discriminatory Leniency Policies Fight Hard-Core Cartels? (April 1, 2018). Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: or

Georg Clemens

Compass Lexecon ( email )

23 Square de Meeûs
Brussels, 1000

Holger Andreas Rau (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim ( email )

Universitaetsbibliothek Mannheim
Mannheim, 68131

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views