The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Margaret C. Levenstein
  • Valerie Y. Suslow
Reference work entry


Cartels are associations of firms that restrict output or set prices. They may divide markets geographically, allocate customers, rig bids at auctions, or restrict non-price terms. They have often been formed with the participation or support of state actors. In contrast to the pre-Second World War period, today most cartels are illegal in most jurisdictions. The average duration of cartels is between five and 7 years, but the distribution of duration is skewed: a large number of cartels break down within a year but a sizable proportion last for over a decade.


Antitrust enforcement Barriers to entry Cartels Cheating Collusion Communication Concentration Coordination Entry Innovation Price fixing Price wars Productivity growth Trust 

JEL Classifications

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret C. Levenstein
    • 1
  • Valerie Y. Suslow
  1. 1.