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Policy Brief

Do European Union fines deter price-fixing?

The issue: Anti-cartel enforcement is the least controversial of competition policy themes. Agreements to restrict competition such as price fixing or market sharing have obvious negative effects on welfare.

By: Date: May 21, 2013 Energy & ClimateInnovation & Competition Policy Tags & Topics

The issue: Anti-cartel enforcement is the least controversial of competition policy themes. Agreements to restrict competition such as price fixing or market sharing have obvious negative effects on welfare. Within the European Union, however, industry representatives have increasingly voiced concern that the European Commission applies a too-strict fining policy to enforce anti-cartel law, particularly since the introduction of new guidelines on fines in 2006. Fines are said to be too high, disproportionate and liable to introduce distortions into the market, ultimately leading to higher prices for consumers. It is often argued that more lenient approaches should be followed in crisis times.

Policy challenge: High fines for cartel activity could entail costs for society and might be difficult to implement. Nevertheless, there is no case for reducing current levels of EU anti-cartel fines. Fine levels already take the economic crisis into account, and the net present value of fines might prove to be too low to discourage collusion. We estimate that fines might even be not high enough to offset the additional profits yielded by collusion. Fines should be complemented with other measures to increase deterrence, in particular personal sanctions targeting company officers who are responsible for leading the company to commit infringements. In the short term, pressure on decision makers could be increased by reducing the expected duration of investigations.

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Past Event

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Artificial intelligence: challenges and opportunities

Rob Atkinson, the founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation presented his research work on the impact of artificial intelligence on our lives.

Speakers: Robert Atkinson, Anna Byhovskaya, Merja Kyllönen and Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: March 23, 2017
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Speakers: Werner Hoyer, Richard Samans and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: EIB Brussels Office, Rond-Point Robert Schuman 6, 1040 Brussels Date: March 21, 2017
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Earlier this week, the European Commission presented the draft compromise reached with Gazprom regarding the antitrust case launched in April. Simone Tagliapietra argues that Gazprom has no reason to break the commitments made in the draft compromise, since they are well-aligned with its own interests.

By: Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: March 15, 2017
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Scott Marcus

High expectations for 5G confront practical realities

The next wave of mobile network innovation is provoking great excitement in the industry. And indeed, there is substantial potential for improvement. However, the exact form of the technology and the appropriate policy support are still far from clear. And we should beware of over-ambitious promises about the impact and uptake of new network technologies.

By: J. Scott Marcus Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: March 14, 2017
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Past Event

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Intellectual Property and Competition Policy in Europe and Japan

Intellectual property (IP) is a cornerstone for incentivising innovation initiatives. It defines a framework within which firms and individuals can produce creations of intellect.

Speakers: Peter Alexiadis, Reiko Aoki, Michael Koenig, Kai-Uwe Kühn and Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: March 14, 2017
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Taxing robots?

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By: Silvia Merler Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: March 13, 2017
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Past Event

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Trump’s energy policy: America first, climate last?

This event seeked to discuss the potential way forward for the US energy and climate policy, and its implications for both global energy markets and global climate change mitigation efforts.

Speakers: Kristine Berzina, Tim Boersma, Connie Hedegaard, Simone Tagliapietra and Zhang Xumin Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: March 7, 2017
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By: Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: February 28, 2017
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External Publication

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Extending the scope of the geo-blocking prohibition: an economic assessment

This paper was prepared for the European Parliament at the request of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

By: J. Scott Marcus and Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 27, 2017
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Policy Contribution

PC 05 2017

An economic review of the collaborative economy

This Policy Contribution tackles the definition and benefits of collaborative economy, as well as the distinction between professional and non-professional services, recommendations on safety and transparency for users, and the way to approach regulatory concerns.

By: Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 27, 2017
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Simone Tagliapietra

Brexit goes nuclear: The consequences of leaving Euratom

The UK Government has confirmed that it will withdraw from Euratom. But what does Euratom actually do? And what will happen when the UK leaves? The authors find major risks, potential costs and open questions.

By: Enrico Nano and Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: February 21, 2017
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Past Event

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Speakers: Severin Fischer, Siobhan Hall, Alan Riley, Szymon Polak, Sebastian Sass, Simon Schulte, Borbála Takácsné Tóth and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: February 21, 2017
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