Handbook on European Competition Law

Handbook on European Competition Law

Substantive Aspects

Elgar original reference

Edited by Ioannis Lianos and Damien Geradin

Handbook on European Competition Law: Substantive Aspects sets the context for examination of substantive law by reviewing and analyzing the goals of competition law. It then covers the substantive building blocks of EU competition law, including horizontal and vertical agreements, cartels, mergers, and also provides valuable coverage of the interaction between competition and regulation, hub and spoke collusion, and information exchange agreements. The importance of the abuse of dominance doctrine is reflected in three discrete chapters considering exploitative abuses, exclusionary pricing abuses, and exclusionary non-pricing abuses.

Chapter 3: Information exchange agreements

Florian Wagner-von Papp

Subjects: economics and finance, competition policy, law - academic, competition and antitrust law, european law


Information exchanges are currently a ‘hot topic’ for antitrust enforcers and courts in the European Union (EU) – both on the EU level and in the Member States – even though they have been around for a long time. Indeed, information exchanges have been around almost since the beginning of antitrust law itself – and this is not a coincidence. Looking at the historical development of antitrust law in various jurisdictions, the same pattern repeats itself. Whenever a jurisdiction outlaws cartel agreements outright, competitors soon recognize that the exchange of individualized current or future pricing information is a nearly perfect substitute for cartels. In the United States, Arthur Jerome Eddy published the first edition of his famous diatribe against competition in 1912, soon after actual enforcement of the Sherman Act had begun.1 He openly argued that the first-best solution would be to allow businessmen to discuss the prices they charge with their competitors, understanding very clearly that this results in collusion.

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