noun \kär-ˈtel\

: a group of businesses that agree to fix prices so they all will make more money

Full Definition of CARTEL

:  a written agreement between belligerent nations
:  a combination of independent commercial or industrial enterprises designed to limit competition or fix prices
:  a combination of political groups for common action

Examples of CARTEL

  1. <a cartel of oil-producing nations that controls production and influences prices>

Origin of CARTEL

French, letter of defiance, from Old Italian cartello, literally, placard, from carta leaf of paper — more at card
First Known Use: 1692

Other Economics Terms

actuary, compound interest, globalization, indemnity, portfolio, rentier, stagflation, usurer


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Organization of a few independent producers for the purpose of improving the profitability of the firms involved (see oligopoly). This usually involves some restriction of output, control of price, and allocation of market shares. Members of a cartel generally maintain their separate identities and financial independence while engaging in cooperative policies. Cartels can either be domestic (e.g., the historical example of the German IG Farben) or international (e.g., OPEC). Because cartels restrict competition and result in higher prices for consumers, they are outlawed in some countries. The only industry operating in the U.S. with a blanket exemption from the antitrust laws is major league baseball, but several U.S. firms have been given permission to participate in international cartels.


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