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Deterrence in Competition Law


  • Paolo Buccirossi
  • Lorenzo Ciari
  • Tomaso Duso
  • Giancarlo Spagnolo
  • Cristiana Vitale


This paper provides a comprehensive discussion of the deterrence properties of a competition policy regime. On the basis of the economic theory of law enforcement we identify several factors that are likely to affect its degree of deterrence: 1) sanctions and damages; 2) financial and human resources; 3) powers during the investigation; 4) quality of the law; 5) independence and 6) separation of power. We then discuss how to measure deterrence. We review the literature that uses surveys to solicit direct information on changes in the behavior of firms due to the threats posed by the enforcement of antitrust rules, and the literature based on the analysis of hard data. We finally argue that the most challenging task, both theoretically and empirically, is how to distinguish between “good” deterrence and “bad” deterrence. ZUSAMMENFASSUNG - (Abschreckung im Wettbewerbsrecht) Dieser Beitrag bietet eine umfassende Diskussion über die Abschreckungseigenschaften eines wettbewerbspolitischen Systems. Auf der Grundlage der ökonomischen Theorie der Rechtsdurchsetzung werden mehrere Faktoren identifizier, welche den Abschreckungsgrad des Systems am ehesten beeinflussen können. Diese sind: 1) Sanktionen und Schadensersatzforderungen, 2) finanzielle Ressourcen und Personal der Wettbewerbsbehörde, 3) die Befugnisse der wettbewerbspolitischen Autorität im Rahmen der Untersuchung, 4) die Qualität des Rechtsrahmens, 5) die Unabhängigkeit der Behörde und 6) die Gewaltenteilung. Anschließend wird diskutiert, wie man den Abschreckungsgrad eines wettbewerbspolitischen Systems empirisch messen kann. Zuerst wird die Literatur besprochen, die auf Befragungen beruht. Die Befragungen sollten Aufschluss darüber geben, wie sich das Unternehmensverhalten angesichts der Durchsetzung von wettbewerbspolitischen Maßnahmen ändert. Dem gegenüber wird die Literatur dargestellt, die "harte" Daten nutzt. Schließlich wird argumentiert, dass die anspruchsvollste Aufgabe sowohl theoretisch als auch empirisch darin bestehen wird, zwischen "guter" und "schlechter" Abschreckung durch Wettbewerbspolitik zu unterscheiden.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Buccirossi & Lorenzo Ciari & Tomaso Duso & Giancarlo Spagnolo & Cristiana Vitale, 2009. "Deterrence in Competition Law," CIG Working Papers SP II 2009-14, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG), revised Oct 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:wzb:wzebiv:spii2009-14
    Note: Paper only available in English

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    Cited by:

    1. Shastitko, Andrey, 2014. "Effects of the Third Party Errors," Published Papers re9021, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    2. Shastitko, A., 2011. "Errors of I and II Types in Economic Exchanges with Third Party Enforcement," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, issue 10, pages 125-148.

    More about this item


    Competition Policy; Law Enforcement; Deterrence;

    JEL classification:

    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies

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