Collegiality and the Politics of European Competition Policy
This paper analyses the implications of collegiality in the European Commission for policy outcomes in European Competition Policy (ECP). The structure of the Commission creates a dilemma, since the antitrust regulator (DG COMP) can either submit its decisions to a vote in the College, or engage in costly strategizing to circumvent it. Relying on the College maintains organizational unity but also risks producing decisions unfavourable to DG COMP and the non-recovery of sunk costs. Forging external alliances, on the other hand, secures policy positions but may also lead to generalized crisis. In this game of strategy I identify the distance between DG policy preferences, the ability of DG COMP to rely on national competition authorities, and the costs of forging external alliances as the main variables affecting equilibrium strategies, and thus equilibrium policy outcomes. Additional empirical work, on ECP and other common policies, should follow.
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