Collective Dominance and Collusion

Collective Dominance and Collusion

Parallelism in EU and US Competition Law

New Horizons in Competition Law and Economics series

Marilena Filippelli

By examining the issue of collusion in EU and US competition law, this book suggests possible strategies for improving the antitrust enforcement against parallelism, by exploiting the most advanced achievements of economic analysis.

Chapter 7: Abuses of collective dominance

Marilena Filippelli

Subjects: law - academic, competition and antitrust law


In EU case law, the notion of dominance describes the firms’ ability to behave independently of rivals, consumers, and customers – that is, to implement whatever market strategy they want, in the awareness that no countervailing power may jeopardize it. In the case of joint market power, independent behaviour refers to any undertakings ‘so linked as to their conduct on a particular market that they present themselves on that market as a collective entity vis-à-vis their competitors, their trading partners and consumers’. The ability of several independent companies to act together as if they were a single entity and to jointly exert market power is the essence of collective dominance. Although there is no more doubt that the concept of dominance covers both single and collective dominant positions, the antitrust approach to collective dominance still faces significant difficulties. Firstly, the method developed under art. 102 for the case of single dominance cannot apply as such to collective dominance. In fact, the involvement of many companies softens the significance of high market shares for the inference of dominance; also, the absence of any structural presumption for collective dominance in EU competition law highlights the need for combining structural and non-structural factors for this assessment. Moreover, the presence itself of several firms sharing market power makes collective dominance different from single dominance: for individual decisions to result in a single market strategy, there must be something that polarizes single actions towards a common point. For this reason, in the analysis of collective dominance

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