Competition Law Reading Room
Report on a Survey of the Australian Public Regarding
Anti-Cartel Law and Enforcement
The Cartel Project: Caron Beaton-Wells, Fiona Haines, Christine Parker and Chris Platania-Phung
(December 2010) Report
From the Cartel Project's web site:
The Survey report is one of three empirical components of the Project and its purpose is to provide robust empirical evidence of the views of the Australian public on the issues involved in the criminalisation of cartel conduct. The other two components are interviews with stakeholders and interviews with prior offenders under the previous civil regime. The results provide a fascinating insight into what the general public think about such questions as:
- whether the typical types of cartel conduct (price fixing, market sharing and output restriction) should be illegal and whether they should be criminal offences;
- whether the companies or the individuals involved, or both, should be subject to sanctions;
- what the penalties and remedies should be;
- whether immunity for the first cartel member to report the cartel is acceptable;
- how seriously the public rates cartel conduct relative to other crimes; and
- why the public hold these views including views about the harmfulness and morality of cartel conduct.
The survey also provides information concerning the knowledge and assessments of business people, including:
- the degree to which business people know that cartel conduct is against the law, a criminal offence and behaviour to which jail sentences apply;
- the extent to which business people consider it likely that cartel conduct will be detected and prosecuted by authorities and jail sentences imposed; and
- the likelihood that business people will engage in cartel conduct under certain conditions - for example, depending on whether civil or criminal sanctions apply.
The results of this survey are likely to be relevant to anyone interested in anti-cartel law enforcement, but will be of particular significance to policymakers, enforcement agencies, prosecutors, defence lawyers, judges and scholars researching this field.
The full report runs to 374 pages with appendices (208 without) and is a 7.5MB download, but well worth it - for those wanting a quick overview, a 5 page executive summary is available for download.