Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for March 1st, 2012

Economics in competition law

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Nicolas’ post from yesterday was somewhat of a declaration of lawove to economics. However, as the post noted, in my personal case this love is not at all unconditional.

Nico’s post stated that the “reptilian reflex of dismissing economics as a source of legal uncertainty is misguided“, but acknowledged that “on this point Alfonso has more nuanced views that he will develop here“.

So, here they are.

Those “more nuanced views” have been recently developed in a couple of pieces co-written by Luis Ortiz Blanco and by myself (one was presented at Fordham’s Annual Conference and the other at a GCLC Annual Conference, and both are about to be published as part of the proceedings of these two events). In these papers we argue that the growing influence of economics in competition law enforcement has brought about many positive consequences, but that we should be mindful of letting the about pendulum swing too far. We submit that there is a limit to the concessions that a legal regime can make without renouncing its nature, and that effects-based legality tests might approach decision-making to economic divination to the prejudice of legal certainty.

I’m conscious that these thoughts may not appear be shared by the mainstream (I don’t expect them to make me the most popular guy if I go to Place Lux for a drink tonight). Nevertheless, I do tend to think that there is a silent large minority/majority that supports these ideas. In fact, a very prominent European Commission official read outloud the following paragraphs from one of our papers at a conference held two or three months ago (by the way: he said he liked them, not that he endorsed them), and invited the attendants to reflect on them:

(If interested, click here to continue reading)

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Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

1 March 2012 at 2:18 pm