AAI Working Paper No. 13-02: Collusive Agreements in the Energy Industry: Insights into U.S. Antitrust Enforcement

This working paper examines collusive agreements in the U.S. energy industry, with a focus on Section 1 energy cases brought by the U.S. government since the early 1990s. It observes that public Section 1 enforcement in various segments of the domestic energy sector appears not to follow the pattern of enforcement against anticompetitive agreements more generally. Anomalies are apparent in terms of the relative number of cases won, a prepondence of civil (versus criminal) enforcement actions, and liberal use of injunctions. The paper proceeds to examine possible explanations for these observations, including the roles of regulation and judicially created antitrust immunities in restraining a more vigorous approach to public enforcement. It concludes with observations and policy recommendations.