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An economic approach to competition policy

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Michele Polo
Full Professor in Economics
Department of Economics
Bocconi University
Via Sarfatti 25, 20136 Milan, Italy

Bocconi University

In the last few years the European competition policy has experienced a wide reform in many areas, including merger control and horizontal agreements, aimed at adopting a more economic approach. The same process is now in progress regarding anticompetitive practices (art. 82), an area in which major cases have been handled quite recently.

Implementing an economic oriented competition policy poses interesting and relevant research questions:
a) What is the current status of economic analysis dealing with anticompetitive practices? Under this respect, recent developments in Industrial Organization have contributed to a better understanding of many of these practices, including tying, rebates, exclusive dealings and predation.
b) How competition policy should be optimally implemented? This issue includes the design of fines and leniency programs, the impact of enforcement on innovation in high tech industries.

Relevance to future of European societies
Competition policy is from the Rome Treaty in 1957 at the core of the European Commission policy to implement a competitive and common market and to enhance the ability of the European economy to compete in global markets.
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