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Competition

The Future of Effective Leniency Programmes: Advancing Detection and Deterrence of Cartels

 

Read the OECD Background Note

  13 June 2023 

Leniency programmes can be a powerful tool to detect cartels and support cartel enforcement, facilitating the prosecution of anticompetitive conducts by authorities. Their success depends not only on intrinsic characteristics of the programme itself (transparency, predictability, certainty of conditions for immunity) but also outside factors such as agencies’ enforcement record in its different aspects, including strong cartel detection and severe sanctions. To ensure continued effectiveness of leniency programmes, recent regulatory interventions have considered their strong interdependency and often complementarity with other detection tools (cartel screening, whistleblowing).

However, several data sources, including the OECD Competition Trends 2022, show a decrease in the number of leniency applications over the last decade which could constitute a serious challenge for competition authorities. Several jurisdictions are discussing or have already introduced legal reforms to tackle the perceived causes of the decline in leniency applications.

In June 2023, the OECD held a roundtable on the future of leniency programmes. The roundtable provided the opportunity to examine recent trends on leniency applications as well as different approaches and recent interventions to ensure continuous effectiveness of leniency programmes.

Key Findings

Participating delegations highlighted, in particular, the importance of investing in complementary instruments, such as whistleblowing programmes, or proactive detection tools, such as cartel screens. Furthermore, customer education and co-operation with other national regulators can be an essential source for cartel detection.

See the full list of best practice roundtables on competition

Speaker

Bill Baer Bio 

Visiting Fellow, Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution
Former Director of the Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission and former Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

 

Presentation
Documents

OECD Background note | Note de référence de l'OCDE

Detailed Summary of the discussion EN | FR

Executive Summary with key findings EN | FR

 

Contributions from delegations

Australia

BIAC

Chile

Colombia 

Croatia

France EN | FR

Germany

Hungary

India

Ireland

Italy

Japan

Kazakhstan

Latvia

Lithuania

Mexico

New Zealand

Poland

Portugal

Romania 

Slovak Republic 

South Africa

Spain

Türkiye

United Kingdom

United States

EU

Summaries of contributions

Related material

Challenges and co-ordination of leniency programmes (2018)

Competition and the use of markers in leniency programmes (2014)

Leniency for Subsequent Applicants, Competition Policy Roundtable (2012)

Director Disqualification and Bidder Exclusion in Competition Enforcement (2022)

Competition compliance programmes (2021)

Criminalisation of cartels and bid rigging conspiracies (2020)

See also

OECD Recommendation concerning effective action against hard core cartels

OECD best practice roundtables on competition

 

 

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