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Public and private enforcement of competition law: A differentiated approach


  • Hüschelrath, Kai
  • Peyer, Sebastian


We investigate the relationship between public and private enforcers introducing a more differentiated approach. In contrast to the existing literature, we take into account that the costs and benefits of detection and prosecution and, thus, the usefulness of each enforcement mode may change with a variation of the type of anticompetitive conduct. We define a set of parameters that determine the costs and benefits of both types to enforce the antitrust laws and discuss implications for European competition law and policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Hüschelrath, Kai & Peyer, Sebastian, 2013. "Public and private enforcement of competition law: A differentiated approach," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-029, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:13029

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jonathan B. Baker, 2003. "The Case for Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 27-50, Fall.
    3. Breit, William & Elzinga, Kenneth G, 1974. "Antitrust Enforcement and Economic Efficiency: The Uneasy Case for Treble Damages," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 329-356, October.
    4. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 45-76, March.
    5. Shavell, Steven, 1997. "The Fundamental Divergence between the Private and the Social Motive to Use the Legal System," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 575-612, June.
    6. Smuda, Florian, 2012. "Cartel overcharges and the deterrent effect of EU competition law," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-050, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    7. Shavell, Steven, 1993. "The Optimal Structure of Law Enforcement," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 255-287, April.
    8. Breit, William & Elzinga, Kenneth G, 1985. "Private Antitrust Enforcement: The New Learning," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 405-443, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andreea Cosnita-Langlais & Jean-Philippe Tropeano, 2014. "Institutional Design and Antitrust Evidentiary Standards," Post-Print hal-01668447, HAL.
    2. Peter Grajzl & Andrzej Baniak, 2015. "Private Enforcement, Corruption, and Antitrust Design," CESifo Working Paper Series 5602, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Hellwig, Michael & Hüschelrath, Kai, 2016. "Cartel cases and the cartel enforcement process in the European Union 2001-2015: A quantitative assessment," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-063, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item


    Competition policy; public enforcement; private enforcement; European Union;

    JEL classification:

    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General

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