Plenty of recent research has highlighted a rise in concentration in the US economy, across different sectors. Economists are now wondering to what extent this is attributable to a shift in the antitrust enforcement philosophy. We review contributions to this debate.
On March 2, 2016, the German Federal Cartel Office opened an antitrust investigation into Facebook’s contract clauses on data use, in what appears to be the first antitrust case in Europe based on a breach of data protection rules. We discuss the link between data protection rules and competition policy, which is still underexplored.
The paper investigates the distortions that national competition authorities generate when they pursue non-competitive goals in favour of domestic firms, and discusses ways to address this negative policy development in a globalised world.
Growth & Innovation
Based on a dataset of manufacturing sectors from five major European economies (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) between 2000 and 2011, we identify a number of key sector-level features that, according to established economic research, have a positive impact on the likelihood of collusion. Each feature is proxied by an ‘Antitrust Risk […]
Commitments have a cost: commitments are voluntary and are unlikely to be subject to judicial review. This reduces the European Commission’s incentive to build a robust case. Because commitment decisions do not establish any legal precedent, they provide for little guidance on the interpretation of the law.
Bruegel fellow Mario Mariniello discusses his latest paper, "Commitments or prohibition? The EU antitrust dilemma." He analyses the different implications of settling a case in exchange for a commitment of the company under investigation as opposed to applying formal sanctions. Using the European Commission’s case against Google as an example, he calls for more transparency […]
To start 2014, Bruegel's Mario Mariniello shares his thoughts on antitrust and competition policy in the year just passed and the one ahead.
Ex-post enforcement is good, but it is not enough. The best way to fight collusion is prevention, not punishment.
The debate misses a crucial point: the purpose of antitrust law is to protect consumers, not competitors. Google’s undue penalization of a particular vertical-search site matters only if the demotion of the site’s links harms end users.
The European Commission is investigating a suspected banking industry cartel, one of the many consequences of the opening of the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) and Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor) Pandora's box.
The issue: Standards reduce production costs and increase the value of products to consumers. Think about mobile phones: using the same technology allows anybody who owns a mobile phone to call or be called by any other mobile phone owner. The bigger the network, the better for consumers.