Cartel Deterrence: The Search for Evidence and Argument

Christopher Harding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Discussion and argument concerning the deterrent impact of anticartel enforcement measures have gained in significance and controversy as the whole regulatory enterprise and rhetoric of cartel regulation has expanded and developed. Regulators have become ever more emphatic in the denunciation of business cartels, and deterrence has therefore assumed a significant role in the justification of a stronger and more determined effort of legal control. In particular, cartelists need to be deterred into whistle blowing for leniency programs to work, and businesses need to be deterred into compliance to achieve the ultimate regulatory goal. Deterrence (rather than, for instance, economic redistribution or retributive justice) then becomes a leading, perhaps the leading objective within the legal control of cartels. Yet claims of deterrent effect are notoriously difficult to measure and assess. The discussion here examines the underlying problems of penetrating and measuring the deterrent impact of anticartel policies and sanctions and considers the possible methodologies for assessing deterrence in this context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-376
Number of pages32
JournalAntitrust Bulletin
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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