Leniency Decision-Making from a Corporate Perspective: Complex Realities

Andreas Stephan, Ali Nikpay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter seeks to assess the robustness of the assumptions made by much of the theoretical literature on leniency programs, giving a glimpse of the uncertainties and complexities that apply in practice. First, sanctions are hard to estimate and the decision to form a cartel is not generally made by the firm as a rational monolith. Second, empirical evidence from the EU suggests an over-reliance on leniency, with only a weak threat of detection through investigations alone. Most leniency reporting may be occurring where a cartel has already ceased to operate or is very likely to be caught. Finally, the decision to come forward is not one that is taken lightly by the firm; it is fraught with uncertainties and dangers, including the challenges of ensuring cooperation from employees. The paper concludes with three recommendations for the strengthening of leniency policies
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnti-Cartel Enforcement in a Contemporary Age
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherHart Publishing
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978-1-84946-690-5
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2015


  • Antitrust
  • Leniency
  • Competition Law
  • Cartels

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