IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Les programmes de Clémence à l'épreuve de la globalisation des marchés

Listed author(s):
  • Pierre Desbrosse
Registered author(s):

    The fight against anticompetitive practises led by competition authorities has been materialized during the past years by the dismantling of large-scale cartels, generating intense media interest because of the astronomical fines imposed to the operators, exceeding in certain cases one billion euros. These spectacular outcomes were mainly obtained thanks to the application of leniency programs, which allow a company that confess a cartel to the competition authority and cooperate in its dismantling, to obtain significant penalty reduction or even a total immunity. The first leniency program was initiated by the Antitrust Division of the American Department of Justice (DoJ) in the late 1970’s, as a consequence of the focus of the US competition policy on cartels. Based on the Game Theory, this mechanism which has obtained successful results against cartels has been progressively imported by most of the competition authorities members of the European Competition Network following the community law. Despite divergences amongst competition policies, leniency programs have now been established as the cornerstone of most of antitrust policies. Nowadays, the doctrinal debates mainly focuse on the combination of leniency programs with criminal procedures and class action suits. Given its success in dismantling cartels, leniency programs have a major impact on international trade and have become part of the business strategies of undertakings. Hence, companies, and multinationals in particular, have integrated leniency mechanisms and have developed strategies to be protected against the “competition risk”. Furthermore, it is important to point out that certain operators make use of this procedure as a Trojan horse to conquer new market shares, and even obtain consequent financial compensations by taking advantage of class actions in the United States. Beyond these new commercial strategies, leniency programs have however a relative efficiency. Their effectivity depends mostly on the field of competition law they are applied. Moreover, the capacity of the competition authorities from developed countries to establish cooperation networks, to exchange confidential information, and to apply their law extraterritorially, contrasts with the weak protection of the markets of developing countries. Hence, developing countries represent appropriate targets for “export cartels” initiated from foreign countries which guaranty immunity to the undertakings. In addition to a better coordination with civil and criminal procedures, the major challenge for leniency programs to promote competitive markets in a context of globalization lies in the modernization of developing countries’ competition laws, and the strengthening of the cooperation mechanisms between competition authorities.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: free

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: free

    Article provided by De Boeck Université in its journal Revue internationale de droit économique.

    Volume (Year): t.XXIV (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 211-240

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:cai:riddbu:ride_242_0211
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cai:riddbu:ride_242_0211. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jean-Baptiste de Vathaire)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.