Economic and Legal Implications for the EU Member States
Edited by Katalin J. Cseres, Maarten Pieter Schinkel and Floris O.W. Vogelaar
Chapter 1: Law and Economics of Criminal Antitrust Enforcement: An Introduction
Katalin J. Cseres, Maarten Pieter Schinkel and Floris O.W. Vogelaar 1 INTRODUCTION Competition laws are set to maintain and protect the competitive process and allow society to reap its fruits in the form of high quality goods and services at low prices. A working competitive process is a precious public beneﬁt that should be safeguarded, as it is well-established that attempts by ﬁrms to pervert competition cause greater overall harm than individual gain. When ﬁrms charge ‘supra-competitive’ prices and reduce output instead of competing on the market, consumers and economic efﬁciency will suffer serious damage.1 Therefore, the primary objective of competition law enforcement is to keep market parties from being tempted to collude. It can be met both by facilitating an economic and legal structure that encourages competition and by actively policing the market for those who behave anticompetitively regardless. In particular, competition authorities seek to efﬁciently deter anticompetitive behaviour through a tuned mix of enforcement mechanisms. In merger control, a trajectory of ex ante assessment and licensing serves to prevent the build-up of undesirable concentrations. Parties report their intentions to merge at their own initiative, as it is unlikely that a major merger consummated without being notiﬁed and approved will go unnoticed. Little active policing or sanctioning is required to secure truthful reporting of relevant information in the required formats.2 However, anticompetitive agreements and abuses of dominance escape by their very nature the attention of the competition authorities unless actively detected. Ex post remedies and...