Handbook on European Competition Law
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Handbook on European Competition Law

Substantive Aspects

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.
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Chapter 7: The oligopoly problem in EU competition law

Nicolas Petit


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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