Edited by Ioannis Lianos and Damien Geradin
Chapter 7: The oligopoly problem in EU competition law
An oligopoly is a market with a few sellers. In today’s world, oligopolies crowd most sectors of the economy. With the exception of certain public goods subject to monopolies (for example, defense) and of textbook-only perfect competition markets (for example, street food in South-East Asia),oligopolies can be observed all over the value chain, from the wholesale level (for example, tyre manufacturing) to retail activities (for example, grocery retailing), in commoditized industries (for example, steel) as well as branded goods (for example, alcoholic beverages) in small, local markets(for example, retail oil distribution) as well as large ones (for example, consumer electronics markets). Moreover, oligopolies are multifaceted. They involve firms of all sorts, from labour-intensive ones (for example, mail delivery operators) to capital-intensive players (for example, pharmaceutical companies, banking sector), from vertically integrated (for example, movie production and distribution) to non-vertically integrated ones (for example, athletic sportswear). In brief, oligopolies are ubiquitous.
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