Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Legal and Illegal Cartels in the European Cement Industry

Nikolaus Fink, Vienna University of Economics and Business and Stefan Frubing, Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) study Legal and Illegal Cartels in the European Cement Industry.

ABSTRACT: Due to being much better documented, legal cartels have recently attracted the interest of many researchers who aim to understand the functioning of illegal cartels in detail. This paper contributes to the question of what we can learn from legal cartels by taking a closer look at the cement industry which has a rich history of both legal and illegal cartels. We undertake a cross-country comparison for Austria, Germany, Poland and Norway, providing narrative evidence for many traits of the cases based on a variety of detailed sources. We identify similarities between legal and illegal cartels in aspects such as monitoring efforts, information exchange, the importance of industry associations and the role of capacities, whereas we also find substantial differences in the allocation of clients, reactions to deviations and pricing schedules.

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