A Study of Umbrella Damages from Bid Rigging

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If noncartel firms adjust their pricing to the supracompetitive level sustained by a cartel, purchasers from noncartel firms may suffer umbrella damages. This paper examines the bidding behavior of noncartel firms against the Texas school milk cartel between 1980 and 1992. The largest noncartel firm bid less aggressively when facing the cartel. Structural estimation reveals that, per contract, damages due to noncartel firms bidding higher are at least 35 percent of damages caused by the cartel. Inefficiencies raise the winner’s cost by 5.9 percent. These results shed light on the importance of umbrella damages from a civil liability perspective.

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