Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for August 14th, 2018

The ASCOLA conference that was (at NYU School of Law) and that will be (Aix-en-Provence, 27-29 June 2019 – with a CALL FOR PAPERS)

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The conference that was

The Academic Society for Competition Law (ASCOLA), of which I am a proud member, is doing really well, and its profile keeps raising. No surprise, given that the awesome Michal Gal is the current Chair.

Many will know that this year’s conference took place at NYU School of Law, a strong contender for the Coolest Location Award (and this without getting started about the quality of its antitrust faculty members, who were our hosts).

The event was intense and full of interesting stuff. I am certainly being unfair but cannot resist highlighting two presentations that got me thinking:

Ioannis Lianos gave a fascinating talk about food sovereignty and competition law. His presentation (see here) was primarily devoted to merger control issues. Ioannis discussed the transformation of the food industry, in particular the increased concentration that it is taking place.

I was left with the impression (and I told him so) that it would not be unreasonable to launch a sector inquiry identifying conduct potentially falling within the scope of Article 101 TFEU (and/or their equivalents around the world). Cross-licensing, joint ventures and patent settlements are all practices that deserve close scrutiny in a concentrated industry.

I also enjoyed a paper (available here) by Marco Botta and Klaus Wiedemann on exploitative practices in the data economy. The paper is solid, rigorous and firmly grounded on positive analysis (quite important at a time when many scholars like to indulge in speculation, in particular when addressing all things digital).

Incidentally, these were some of the very qualities I identified as desirable in a pre-conference discussion on what makes a good competition law paper.

As far as I am concerned, I gave a presentation on Regulatory Capture and the New EU Competition Law (available here). It is a topic about which I have been thinking for a while (remember this post?). I have the impression that competition lawyers tend to be somewhat complacent about the risk of capture. I discussed some of the reasons why competition law may be vulnerable to this phenomenon, as well as the safeguards available in the system.

The conference that will be

David Bosco, in his capacity as host-to-be, said a word about the location of next year’s ASCOLA conference. It will take place at the Faculty of Law of Aix-Marseille University (in lovely Aix-en-Provence, in case you were wondering whether it was one or the other city). The call for papers can be found here. Make sure you save the dates: 27-29 June 2019.

The conference will be devoted to ‘Challenges to the Assumptions at the Basis of competition Law’ and will cover issues such as the following:

  • The goals of competition law and how they can be achieved;
  • How markets operate (including the effects of certain types of conduct and/or technologies on market performance);
  • The correct balance between risks and benefits of certain market actions or technological changes;
  • The institutional structure that best serves competition law enforcement;
  • Burdens of proof, and economic and legal presumptions that best serve its goals;
  • The interaction of competition law with other legal or regulatory spheres, and how they affect overall social welfare.

Please note that the pre-conference discussion will be this time devoted to ‘Innovative Ways to Teach Competition Law’.

And before I forget: if you would like to join ASCOLA, please follow this link.

Written by Pablo Ibanez Colomo

14 August 2018 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized