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Competition and Environmental Policy in the EU: Old Foes, New Friends?

Author

Listed:
  • Jesper Fredborg Hurić-Larsen

    () (Lillebaelt Academy, University of Applied Sciences)

  • Angela Münch

    (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Abstract

Abstract European competition authorities consider environmental and competition policy to be complementary, as each has the objective of improving social welfare. Naturally, one would imagine that environmental considerations have already been accounted for in competition policy practice, but thus far, only in the case of voluntary environmental agreements. This paper analyzes the extent to which the two types of policy are complementary by examining the legal framework of competition policy, voluntary environmental agreements and three competition cases with equal relevance to the environment and then examines the basic theoretical economic observation that less competition implies lower pollution levels relative to more competition. This trade-off between the benefits of reduced emissions on the one side and increased competition on the other implies that disregarding environmental considerations in the implementation of competition policy entails a negative externality, which can be eliminated if environmental considerations are internalized in competition policy. The impact of the externality is found to depend on the emission level, the emission damage, and market size. Further, this implies that if competition authorities were to adopt a broad definition of the relevant market in competition cases, then environmental considerations would play a limited role in competition policy, whereas a narrow definition implies that environmental considerations should have a much more important place than competitive considerations in competition policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Jesper Fredborg Hurić-Larsen & Angela Münch, 2016. "Competition and Environmental Policy in the EU: Old Foes, New Friends?," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 137-153, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jincot:v:16:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s10842-015-0201-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s10842-015-0201-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Markus Lehmann, 2004. "Voluntary Environmental Agreements and Competition Policy," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 28(4), pages 435-449, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental policy; Competition policy; Optimal market structure; Environmental damage; Social costs; Competition analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies
    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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