Table of Contents

Competition Policy and the Economic Approach

Competition Policy and the Economic Approach

Foundations and Limitations

Edited by Josef Drexl, Wolfgang Kerber and Rupprecht Podszun

This outstanding collection of original essays brings together some of the leading experts in competition economics, policy and law. They examine what lies at the core of the ‘economic approach to competition law’ and deal with its normative and institutional limitations. In recent years the ‘more economic approach’ has led to a modernisation of competition law throughout the world. This book comprehensively examines for the first time, the foundations and limitations of the approach and will be of great interest to scholars of competition policy no matter what discipline.

Chapter 13: Competition as a Socially Desirable Dilemma – Theory v. Experimental Evidence

Christoph Engel

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

Extract

Christoph Engel* Cartels are inherently instable. Each cartelist is best off if it breaks the cartel, while the remaining firms remain loyal. If firms interact only once, if products are homogenous, if firms compete in price, and if marginal cost is constant, theory even predicts that strategic interaction forces firms to set the market clearing price. For society, this would be welcome news. Without antitrust intervention, the market outcome maximizes welfare. The argument becomes even stronger if the opposite market side has a chance to defend itself; if imposing harm on the opposite market side is salient; if it is clear that cartels are at variance with normative expectations prevalent in society. There is an equally long list of reasons, though, why such optimism might be unwarranted: capacity is limited; interaction is repeated, and the end is uncertain; firms might be willing to run a limited risk of being exploited by their competitors, hoping that the investment pays. This chapter explores the question both theoretically and experimentally. In the interest of capitalizing on a rich body of experimental findings, and on the concept of conditional cooperation in particular, I offer a formal model that interprets oligopoly as a linear public good. 1. RESEARCH QUESTION You are facing a dilemma – what a mess! Your opponent is facing a dilemma – what a relief! This is the situation of cartel members v. cartel authorities. For cartel members, keeping prices high, or quantity low for that matter, is a dilemma. Each cartelist is individually...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information