A Critique of Partial Leniency for Cartels
by the U.S. Department of Justice
58 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2007 Last revised: 9 Jun 2008
This paper models a key outcome of secret negotiations: partial-leniency fine discounts from plea bargaining in criminal price-fixing cases. Models tested explain up to 52% of variation in percentage discounts. A minor portion is explained by such defendants characteristics as the defendants rank in queue and delay in settling. Most variation is explained by cartel characteristics. International conspiracies, global cartels, and bid-rigging schemes are granted lower percentage than domestic price-fixing. Discounts were higher in the Bush II than in the Clinton administration. Participants in durable conspiracies are rewarded with larger discounts, but more severe treatment of recidivists cannot be detected.
Keywords: antitrust, cartel, price fixing, deterrence, penalties, fines, discounts, Department of Justice
JEL Classification: K21, K14, L41, L44, L65, L11, L13, N60
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