Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Direct Versus Communications-Based Prohibitions on Price Fixing

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Louis Kaplow, Harvard Law School, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has posted the interesting Direct Versus Communications-Based Prohibitions on Price Fixing.

ABSTRACT: This article compares two policies toward coordinated oligopolistic price elevation. Most commentators endorse the view that the law should (and does) prohibit only those price elevations produced by certain sorts of interfirm communications, such as secret price negotiations. In contrast, little attention has been devoted to a more direct approach that encompasses all coordinated price elevations that can be detected and sanctioned effectively. It is demonstrated that the conventional formulation rests on numerous misconceptions, involves complex and costly detection if its logical implications are taken seriously, and tends to target cases with relatively low deterrence benefits and high chilling costs in contrast to those targeted under the direct approach.

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