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Criminalisation of Cartel Behaviour


  • King, David

    () (Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand)


This paper considers the case for criminalisation of hard-core cartel behaviour. Two frameworks are applied for considering the issue: retributive justice and deterrence (so as to minimise the social loss). The conclusion is reached that hard-core cartel behaviour has a serious moral dimension and that criminalisation of the offence is justifiable when a retributive approach is taken. It is also concluded that criminalisation is likely to be optimal from a deterrence perspective; this is due to the disutility created by stigma and loss of liberty and to the problems with alternatives such as corporate and individual fines, leniency programmes, and rewards to whistleblowers. Arguments against criminalisation relating to judicial processes and incentives on business are found to be unpersuasive. Achieving broad community support is critical, however. An addendum brings the paper up to date with developments in Australia.

Suggested Citation

  • King, David, 2010. "Criminalisation of Cartel Behaviour," Occasional Papers 10/1, Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:nzmedo:2010_001

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Criminalisation; cartel behaviour;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices

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