Cartels: Where is the case for criminal sanctions?
Published: June 2003
Imprisonment of directors and employees for taking part in cartel activity is
becoming an increasingly common penalty in western jurisdictions. Generally it
is the only competition law offence that attracts a criminal sanction either as a
matter of law or practice. This article examines the evidence in support of the
alleged “harm done” by cartels, which it finds insubstantial, and refers by
contrast to the limited academic literature available which suggests that generally
cartels may be relatively ineffective and probably less damaging than other
competition offences such as monopoly pricing or exclusionary behaviour.