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Competition Law and Economics

Competition Law and Economics

Advances in Competition Policy Enforcement in the EU and North America

Edited by Abel M. Mateus and Teresa Moreira

Competition policy is at a crossroads on both sides of the Atlantic. In this insightful book, judges, enforcers and academics in law and economics look at the consensus built so far and clarify controversies surrounding the issue.

Chapter 23: Economics in State Aid: Soon as Routine as Dentistry?

Lowri Evans and Harold Nyssens

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


Lowri Evans and Harold Nyssens1 I INTRODUCTION John Keynes famously hoped – a hope famous at least amongst economists – that economics would one day become as humble and routine as dentistry. As is well known, all this has not become reality. However, in the Commission, we are on the march to make economic analysis as much a routine in the analysis of state aid cases as it is already in the other main areas of competition policy, namely merger control and antitrust policy. The Commission has embarked, since 2005, on a sustained effort towards a renewed state aid policy. The four pillars of the State Aid Action Plan2 are by now well known: – – – less and better targeted state aid – a refined economic approach, as a means to achieve ‘less and better targeted state aid’; more effective and predictable rules and enforcement; a shared responsibility between the Commission and Member States. There has been quite some work done and there is still work in progress on all these fronts. Most recently, the Commission has adopted guidance documents in order to outline how it will realize in depth economic analysis of large training aid, social aid cases as well as the criteria to 1 The views expressed are personal to the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission. The authors would like warmly to thank Vincent Verouden and Kevin Coates for assisting them in preparing this chapter. This chapter constitutes a revised version of a paper distributed during the...

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