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Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, Stockholm School of Economics SITE Working Paper Series

No 32:
Leniency and Damages

Catarina Marvao (), Giancarlo Spagnolo () and Paolo Buccirossi ()

Abstract: Modern antitrust engenders a possible conflict between public and private enforcement due to the central role of Leniency Programs. Damage actions may reduce the attractiveness of Leniency Programs for cartel participants if their cooperation with the competition authority increases the chance that the cartel’s victims will bring a successful suit. A long legal debate culminated in a EU directive, adopted in November 2014, which seeks a balance between public and private enforcement. It protects the e ffectiveness of a Leniency Program by preventing the use of leniency statements in subsequent actions for damages and by limiting the liability of the immunity recipient to its direct and indirect purchasers. Our analysis shows such compromise is not required: limiting the cartel victims’ ability to recover their loss is not necessary to preserve the eff ectiveness of a Leniency Program and may be counterproductive. We show that damage actions will actually improve its eff ectiveness, through a legal regime in which the civil liability of the immunity recipient is minimized (as in Hungary) and full access to all evidence collected by the competition authority, including leniency statements, is granted to claimants (as in the US).

Keywords: Private and public enforcement; cartels; competition policy; Leniency Program; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: C72; C73; D43; D81; H11; K21; K42; L13; L44; L51; (follow links to similar papers)

27 pages, February 13, 2015, Revised January 13, 2016

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