Economic efficiency of fines imposed on cartels
Keywords:cartels, fines, optimal fines, fine deterrence, economic efficiency, Lithuania.
A discovery of an active cartel represents only one stage in antitrust enforcement. Another important stage, which is quite widely discussed among scholars, is the imposition of fines against cartels. The main problem, which occurs on the practical and theoretical level is the estimation of the optimal size of fines. Although propositions stating that today’s fines are possibly too low, more and more often appear in the scientific literature and public space, the concept of the optimal fine is not fully analyzed and discussed among academic society yet. It is important that the size of the fine allows to find the compromise among damage settlement, deterrence from other violations of competition law, punishment of violators and practical possibilities to pay the fine.
In this article the main attention is paid to the concept of the optimal fine in the country of small economy with developing culture of competition. The empirical analysis is based on Lithuanian cases. This country is chosen because it corresponds to the features of the small economy with the developing culture of competition. In Lithuania, the Law on Competition became effective in 1999 and the competition has not been treated as a value yet. The empirical analysis of two Lithuanian cartels cases allowed to assess and identify the specifics of the economic efficiency of fines imposed on cartels. According to the theoretical and practical analysis, the recommendations pointed to the improvement of the fining system, are presented in the article as well.