Three Essays on Leniency Policies
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This thesis presents three papers in Competition Economics. The unifying theme is leniency policies from an international perspective; that is, I investigate theoretically and empirically the design and effectiveness of leniency policies in major jurisdictions: U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Section, European Commission's DG-COMP and Canada's Competition Bureau. A corporation (or an individual) may be granted a lenient treatment in terms of financial fine and/or jail time by confessing its (his/her) information about the collusive activity. Such policies aim at deterring and forcing desistance of this illegal practice. According to some metrics, leniency policies are very effective tools. Other metrics result in more nuanced conclusions, as tested. Using a standard method in industrial organization research with firm-level data, I estimate the effect on corporations' behavior from the amendment in 1993 of the U.S. Corporate Leniency Program. One key element for understanding the mechanisms driving a corporation's application for leniency lies in the nature of the information transferred from the applicant to the competition agency. I claim that by making the lenient fine conditional on this information, a competition agency will receive higher quality information and promote a higher welfare standard. The accrued savings in prosecution resources justifies the benefit of this conditioning. Another key element is the interaction of corporate and individual leniency policies. I claim that a competition agency should align its resources with the leniency policies in place based on two variables: the degree to which collusion affects the worker and the profit margin of collusion over the competitive level.