David Evans, Nov 05, 2010
Antitrust authorities have pursued cartels with steadily increasing vigor over the last three decades. Guided in significant part by economics and game theory, authorities have both ratcheted up fines to discourage forming cartels and implemented leniency programs to encourage cartel members to rat on their partners in crime. Yet, despite massive fines and hefty civil damages in some jurisdictions such as the United States, business people still conspire against the public to raise prices. Even tossing the occasional price-fixer in jail has not dissuaded executives from entering into agreements with their rivals over prices. Of course, even an efficient criminal justice system does not eliminate all wrongdoing. Nevertheless, there is a widespread perception that antitrust is not doing enough to discourage price-fixing.