“From Collusion to Competition” – 20th Issue

Jun 23, 2015

CPI Cartel Column edited by Rosa Abrantes-Metz (Global Economics Group/NYU Stern School of Business)

Welcome to the June issue of “From Collusion to Competition.” This issue is dedicated to one of my very favorite topics: screening. As many of you may know, I have long been developing screens for conspiracies and manipulations and making the case that these methods can be very powerful in the early stages of investigations. Screens have proven themselves effective by flagging many examples of potentially illegal behavior in financial and commodities benchmarks, several of these already confirmed.

In October of 2013 the OECD held a policy table on the use of screens, in which I had the honor of being one of the panelists (a summary of the roundtable and all individual submissions are available at http://www.oecd.org/daf/competition/exofficio-cartel-investigation-2013.pdf.) Even though opinions on screens were split among the member countries – and hence, the glass is both half empty and half full – the recognition of these tools has greatly increased over the last 5 years. 10 years ago for example, virtually no competition authority was discussing actually or potentially using screening. I can only expect this adoption trend to continue. In the future, cartel members will be much more careful not to leave incriminating messages and emails, meaning so-called direct evidence will be much harder to come by. This will increase the need for and weight of screening.

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