Evaluating the effectiveness of ACCC compliance and enforcement activity

Jigsaw_cluster_attribute to James Petts on flickr

Project leader(s)

Purpose and benefits

Quantitative and qualitative research methods were applied to assess the compliance impact of different enforcement and compliance strategies used by the ACCC. The impact on business actors in different sectors and markets, of different sizes and in different locations was evaluated.

The project provided performance information on the effectiveness of the ACCC’s compliance and enforcement activities. The results contributed to the ACCC’s report requirements on the effectiveness of its work.


In the first phase, qualitative interviews were conducted with ACCC staff and experienced trade practices lawyers to identify significant cases of ACCC enforcement and compliance activity, and the strategies used in those cases. Senior officers of companies that have been the subject of ACCC compliance and enforcement efforts in recent years were then interviewed. Companies were selected purposively to include the most likely successful cases, the most likely cases of major failure and some cases where no one knew whether the work had been successful or not (and where it might be particularly instructive to find out). Changes in the nature of the relevant markets were also examined quantitatively and qualitatively.

The second phase of the project centred on a quantitative survey. Approximately 200 entities were included, about 100 that had been subject to ACCC enforcement action over the previous five years and matched controls of 100 which had not. Entities were matched by size, product/service, location (multinational/Australian, urban/rural) and by form of business (franchise/partnership/company). A questionnaire was sent to the senior legal or trade practices compliance officer of the entity. Information was also coded from the annual reports of the companies and from compliance program documentation. Perceptual deterrence, trust in the ACCC, defiance and resistance to ACCC enforcement, perceptions of ACCC procedural fairness, cooperativeness, belief in the value of the TPA, commitment to invest in internal compliance systems and self-reported compliance were measured at both a firm and industry level.


First Preliminary Research Report [PDF, 672KB]

ACCC Enforcement and Compliance Project Working Paper on ACCC Compliance Education and Liaison Strategies [PDF, 415KB]

ACCC Enforcement and Compliance Working Paper on The Impact of ACCC Enforcement Activity in Cartel Cases. [PDF, 1MB]

The Impact of Competition Regulation on Australian Business: National Benchmark Study Survey [PDF, 1MB]

The ACCC Enforcement and Compliance Survey: Report of Preliminary Findings (final report) [PDF, 1.3MB]

Image: Emeritus Professor John Braithwaite

Professor John Braithwaite

John Braithwaite is an Emeritus Professor and Founder of RegNet (the Regulatory Institutions Network), now School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at the Australian National University...

Image: Emeritus Professor Peter Drahos (RegNet)

Professor Peter Drahos

Peter Drahos is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, at the Australian National...

Trade, investment & IP 440x440

Trade, investment and intellectual property

This cluster looks at the impacts of the trade, investment and intellectual property regimes on the regulatory sovereignty and capacity of states and the consequences that flow from those impacts.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet