The EU Leniency Programme and Recidivism

36 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2014

See all articles by Catarina M. P. Marvão

Catarina M. P. Marvão

Technological University Dublin; Stockholm School of Economics - Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE)

Date Written: March 31, 2014


The EU Leniency Programme (LP) aims to encourage the dissolution of existing cartels and the deterrence of future cartels, through spontaneous reporting and/or significant cooperation by cartel members during an investigation. However, the European Commission guidelines are rather vague in terms of the factors that influence the granting and scale of fine reductions. As expected, the results shown that the first reporting or cooperating firm receives generous fine reductions. More importantly, there is some evidence that firms can "learn how to play the leniency game", either learning how to cheat or how to report, as the reductions given to multiple offenders (and their cartel partners) are substantially higher. These results have an ambiguous impact on firms' incentives and major implications for policy making.

Keywords: Cartels, competition policy, Leniency Programme, self-reporting

JEL Classification: K21, K42, L4, L51

Suggested Citation

Marvão, Catarina Moura Pinto, The EU Leniency Programme and Recidivism (March 31, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Catarina Moura Pinto Marvão (Contact Author)

Technological University Dublin ( email )


Stockholm School of Economics - Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE) ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
S-113 83 Stockholm, 11383

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