Working paper

Unilateral Practices, Antitrust Enforcement and Commitments

Patrick Rey, and Michele Polo

Abstract

This paper analyses the impact of commitments on antitrust enforcement. These tools, introduced in Europe by the Modernization reform of 2003, are now used intensively by the European Commission and by National Competition Agencies. We consider a setting where a firm can adopt a practice that is either pro- or anti-competitive; the firm knows the nature of the practice whereas the enforcer has only prior beliefs about it. If the firm adopts the practice, the enforcer then decides whether to open a case. When commitments are available, the firm can offer a commitment whenever a case is opened; the enforcer then decides whether to accept it or run a costly investigation that may or may not bring supporting evidence. We show that introducing commitments weakens enforcement when the practice is likely to be anti-competitive. The impact of commitments is however more nuanced when the practice is less likely to be anti-competitive.

Keywords

Antitrust enforcement; Commitment; Remedies; Deterrence;

JEL codes

  • L40: General
  • K21: Antitrust Law
  • K42: Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

Reference

Patrick Rey, and Michele Polo, Unilateral Practices, Antitrust Enforcement and Commitments, TSE Working Paper, n. 22-1316, March 2022.

See also

Published in

TSE Working Paper, n. 22-1316, March 2022