Corporate Governance and Cartel Formation

  • Suha Alawi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


A firm’s participation in cartel depends upon the potential problems that may arise due to price fixing and the incentives provided to the management. The top levels of management such as the board of directors and the CEO are responsible for deciding if the firm will participate in the cartel and manage the corporate governance activities of collusive price fixing agreements. This study aims to identify which characteristics of the participating firms’ boards of directors and CEOs are associated with cartel formation. It analyses the empirical investigation of cartel participation of firms, taking into account corporate governance characteristics as such as board of directors’ characteristics, ownership structure, CEO characteristics, and CEO compensation scheme. The study is focused on UK cartel firms which has the highest representation in the sample. A total number of 150 cartel firms in 52 cases from all around the world between the years 1990 to 2008 are involved in this study, of which 114 are UK firms. Therefore, this study is dominated by UK firms.The challenge of this study is that the personal attributes of CEOs and boards can make a significant contribution to the risk profile of a cartel being formed. This indeed would be to ‘diagnose’ organisational culture in a quite radical direction. The study suggests and finds that some corporate governance attributes are associated with cartel formation. The results reveal consistency with prior researches, that cartel firms have different corporate governance relative to a control sample in the three years prior to cartel formation. Specifically, the study concludes that UK-based cartel firms characterised by having larger board size compared to non-cartel firms; lower percentage of independent directors (non-executive); higher average of board remuneration; less likely that cartel is formed by family-owned and controlled firm (large shareholders); having older CEOs represented on the board; having CEO who served a less number of years as a director; less likely to have a female CEO represented; more likely to have CEOs who’s combined CEO-chairman position; and a higher average of CEOs bonuses and compensation packages.
Date of Award20 Nov 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SponsorsRoyal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
SupervisorAnna Zalewska (Supervisor) & Eleanor Morgan (Supervisor)


  • cartel
  • corporate governance
  • competation
  • CEO Characteristics
  • independence
  • board gender
  • board size

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