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International Cartel Enforcement: Lessons from the 1990s

Simon Evenett (), Margaret Levenstein and Valerie Suslow

The World Economy, 2001, vol. 24, issue 9, 1221-1245

Abstract: The enforcement record of the 1990s has demonstrated that international private cartels are neither relics of the past nor do they always fall quickly under the weight of their own incentive problems. Of a sample of forty cartels prosecuted by the United States and European Inion in the 1990s, twenty-four cartels lasted at least four years. And for the twenty of the cartels in this sample where sales data are available, the annual worldwide sales in the affected products exceeded US$30 billion. Prevailing national competition policies are oriented towards addressing harm done in domestic markets, and in some cases merely prohibit cartels without taking strong enforcement measures. In this paper we propose a sequence of reforms to national policies and to international cooperation that will strengthen the deterrents against international cartels. Furthermore, aggressive prosecution of cartels must be complemented by vigilance in other areas of competition policy. If not, firms will respond to the enhanced deterrents to cartelisation by merging or by taking other measures that lessen competitive pressures. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2001.

Date: 2001
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