Economics and the Enforcement of European Competition Law
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Economics and the Enforcement of European Competition Law

Christopher Decker

Recent years have seen a trend toward an ‘economics-based’ approach to the enforcement of European competition law. But what is meant by ‘economics-based’, and how does this approach sit with legal and enforcement practice? This book seeks to place in perspective the growing use of economics in European competition law enforcement by examining precisely how economics contributes to the enforcement activity of the European Commission and Courts.
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Chapter 7: Towards a more economic approach

Christopher Decker

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7. Towards a more economic approach The discussion on the ‘more economic approach’ at least sometimes bears some resemblance to lawyers and economists sitting in the car of competition law enforcement fiercely fighting over the steering wheel. It is quite obvious that this is not a promising scenario. Neither for keeping the car of competition law enforcement on the right track nor for avoiding dangerous hazards to other traffic participants – be it consumers or the business community.1 Dr. Bernhard Heitzer, Präsident des Bundeskartellamtes, 3 December 2008 The purpose of this book was to place in perspective the growing use of economics in European competition law enforcement by providing empirical content to a number of questions regarding how economics is applied in one area of enforcement activity (coordinated behaviour in oligopolistic markets). Specifically, the case study sought to identify the nature of the expertise that economics provides in the entire enforcement process as revealed both by the reported decisions of the Commission and the Courts and by those involved in the enforcement process. This chapter draws together the key conclusions of the book, and considers the potential implications of these conclusions in light of calls for ‘more economics’ in European competition law. A central motivation for this research was the view that a precise and grounded understanding of the actual use of economics in the enforcement of competition law, and a realistic view of its potential for use, is necessary to underlie discussions as to ‘more economics’ in competition law...

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