Is There Price Collusion in the Civil Engineering Profession—

by Michael N. Goodkind, (A.M.ASCE), Chf. Struct. Engr.; Barton-Aschman Assocs., Inc., Evanston, Ill.,

Serial Information: Engineering Issues: Journal of Professional Activities, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 3, Pg. 301-314

Document Type: Journal Paper


In a December 1974 U.S. District Court decision, the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Code of Ethics prohibition against competitive bidding was ruled to be a per se violation of Federal antitrust laws. More recently the Supreme Court has ordered the lower court's ruling vacated. In issuing their order, the Supreme Court said that the NSPE case should be reconsidered in light of an 8-0 decision in which the Supreme Court found that the Virginia State Bar was in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act because of its minimum fee schedule. The purpose of this paper is to look at the history of price-fixing in other areas and to try to relate this history to the present condition of the civil engineering profession. It is not concerned with questions of ethics or professionalism as put forth by NSPE, but with evaluating the structure of our profession to see if price-fixing can, in fact, exist.

Subject Headings: Engineering profession | Court decisions | Pricing | Ethics | Professional societies | Standards and codes | Bids | Federal government | Virginia | United States

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