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Problems with Prison in International Cartel Cases

45 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2012  

John M. Connor

American Antitrust Institute (AAI)

Date Written: June 20, 2011


Around the year 2000, the Antitrust Division announced a new policy that would substitute more frequent and more severe prison sentences for heavier corporate fines in criminal cartel cases. This article documents that the Division has indeed imprisoned more cartel managers and obtained longer sentences, but has failed to achieve other goals. The elimination of no-jail plea deals has not been realized; the number of imprisoned executives per firm has not risen appreciably; adoption of criminalization by other jurisdictions is glacial; almost half of those executive who go to trial are acquitted; extradition is rare and problematic; and the number of fugitives is growing. Identifying the optimal mix of corporate and individual sanctions for deterrence remains elusive.

Keywords: price fixing, cartel, antitrust, penalty, prison, criminalization

JEL Classification: L41, K21, K14

Suggested Citation

Connor, John M., Problems with Prison in International Cartel Cases (June 20, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

John M. Connor (Contact Author)

American Antitrust Institute (AAI) ( email )

1730 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20036
United States
202-536-3408 (Phone)


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