Fighting cartels remains a top priority for competition authorities since cartels are secretive in nature and cartelists take good care in concealing their illegal activities.
Cartel enforcement can therefore be extremely challenging for competition authorities who most of the times can only react after receiving complaints by competitors and customers or applications by participants to a cartel for leniency or amnesty.
More rarely, competition authorities take proactive actions to identify firms which are potentially involved in a cartel conspiracy, or markets which may be affected by cartelisation. These proactive cartel detection tools involve the analysis of observable economic data and firm behaviour, systematic monitoring of media, tracking of firms & individuals to detect behaviour which is inconsistent with a healthy competitive process. Discussing the balance between proactive and reactive detection and particular detection methods may benefit competition authorities evaluating their anti-cartel detection and enforcement policies.
The OECD Competition Committee discussed Ex officio cartel investigations and the use of screens to detect cartels in October 2013 so as to explore the various screening methods used by agencies and their successful experiences with the implementation of such screens in case enforcement.
Background Note by the Secretariat
Rosa Abrantes-Metz (Global Economics Group, United States) Paper | ppt
David Gilo (Israel Antitrust Authority) ppt
William Kovacic (George Washington University, United States) Paper | ppt
Maarten Pieter Schinkel (University of Amsterdam) Paper | ppt
The results of this discussion, accompanied by country contributions, expert papers and background notes is scheduled for release in 2014 as part of the Best Practice Roundtables on Competition Policy series.