Recidivism Eliminated: Cartel Enforcement in the United States Since 1999

Belinda Barnett, Scott Hammond, Gregory Werden, Oct 14, 2011

The Autumn 2010 issue of Competition Policy International included a grim portrait of anticartel enforcement painted by Professor John Connor. He asserted that cartel recidivism is common and “appears to be increasing rapidly,” which he argues “is symptomatic of flaws in the structure of anti-cartel enforcement.” A high rate of recidivism would demonstrate the failure of specific (or special) deterrence, i.e., that many companies sanctioned for cartel offenses nonetheless were not deterred from engaging in future cartel activity. A conspicuous failure of specific deterrence also would suggest that cartel enforcement is failing to achieve its primary goal-general deterrence. However, the portrait Professor Connor painted does not resemble cartel enforcement in the United States today.