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Compensating Competitors or Restoring Competition? EU Regulation of State Aid for Banks During the Financial Crisis

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  • Bruce Lyons

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  • Minyan Zhu

Abstract

We contrast the theory underpinning state aid for failing banks with that for failing firms in the non-financial sector. We argue that there is little justification for measures to ‘compensate’ rivals when the bank has been saved for reasons of systemic stability. The Commission’s approach to bank restructuring aid takes insufficient notice of this. Furthermore, the use of punitive divestitures is not the best way of addressing moral hazard. Worse, such divestitures can impede competition by creating weak rivals. We provide four detailed case studies to illustrate the problems. We conclude that the Commission provided a useful constraint in the midst of a crisis of unprecedented scale and complexity, but its approach could have been improved by more systematic attention to effective competition relative to the appropriate counterfactual. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Lyons & Minyan Zhu, 2013. "Compensating Competitors or Restoring Competition? EU Regulation of State Aid for Banks During the Financial Crisis," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 39-66, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jincot:v:13:y:2013:i:1:p:39-66
    DOI: 10.1007/s10842-012-0145-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Davies, Stephen & Olczak, Matthew & Coles, Heather, 2011. "Tacit collusion, firm asymmetries and numbers: Evidence from EC merger cases," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 221-231, March.
    2. Collie, David R., 1998. "Trade policy under Bertrand duopoly with integrated markets: the pure strategy equilibrium," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 179-183, August.
    3. Stephen Davies & Matthew Olczak & Heather Coles, 2007. "Tacit Collusion, Firm Asymmetries and Numbers: Evidence from EC Merger Cases," Working Papers 07-7, Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia.
    4. David Collie, 2002. "Prohibiting State Aid in an Integrated Market: Cournot and Bertrand Oligopolies with Differentiated Products," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 215-231, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fiordelisi, Franco & Mare, Davide Salvatore & Molyneux, Philip, 2015. "State-Aid, Stability and Competition in European Banking," MPRA Paper 67473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. European Commission, Directorate-General for Competition (Brussels) (ed.), 2016. "Ex-post evaluation of the impact of restructuring aid decisions on the viability of aided (non-financial) firms: Final report," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, number 130514, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    state aid; competition; banks; European Commission; F15 (integration); G21 (banks); L49 (antitrust policy—other);

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • L49 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Other

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