A multi-jurisdictional comparative analysis of the incidence and perception of cartel conduct

  • Michelle Berzins

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This study is the first systematic examination to investigate perceptions and court outcomes relating to cartel conduct. The dissertation explores the occurrence of cartel conduct in eleven jurisdictions, whilst also measuring how competition regulators and legal practitioners perceive such infringements of competition law. Exploration of the use and perception of leniency policies is undertaken in order to provide an innovative contribution to the understanding of these phenomena. The research question "What are the perceptions and incidence of cartel conduct in the selected jurisdictions?" is answered alongside the testing of four null research hypotheses. The issues of leniency policies and cartel conduct are examined using two methodological approaches: content analysis and online survey. Content analysis is conducted on 69 court outcomes and decisions using an original measurement matrix designed from the literature. The three areas of examination are the demographic information (such as the cartelised market, duration and penalties imposed on the cartel participants); the reasons for judgment (or ratio decidendi) as well as any other considerations (or obiter dictum). Findings reveal that specific phenomena contained within the measurement matrix occur differently throughout the jurisdictions of interest. Data from 201 surveys of employees working in competition agencies and law firms are also analysed to explore perceptions relating to leniency policies and cartel conduct. Individuals from different jurisdictions are found to hold differing views regarding leniency policies and cartel conduct, with legal practitioners having different perceptions to competition regulators. There are consistent perceptions of insufficient levels of education, prevention and publicity regarding cartel conduct. Eight recommendations are made including the enhancement of educational initiatives, improved resources, law reform as well as changes to allowing multiple grants of leniency. Three suggestions for future research include conducting a multi-jurisdictional comparative analysis of interview data, involvement of stakeholders in future research projects, and measuring the effect of particular sanctions on cartel participants.
    Date of Award2007
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDouglas Davies (Supervisor)

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