Sunday, May 10, 2015

Market definition in Buyer Power cases

3 weeks ago I had the privilege to be invited as one of the paper discussants of the 1st BECCLE Competition Policy Conference organized in Bergen.

The Conference was a great success for BECCLE and all my recognition to my fellow co-workers that were part of the orginazing team (I was not one of them). Not only it gather a truly remarkable group of keynote speakers, but also the papers presented by PhD candidates and young post-doc were of high quality.

The event took place at the Norwegian School of Economics, just outside Bergen
In this conference I presented my views concerning market definition for buyer power cases. In a nutshell my (quite long paper) analyze market definition and market power assessment as two fundamental steps carried out by competition authorities – and later on reviewed by courts – whenever dealing with alleged breaches of competition law by undertakings. They are, however, mostly centered in selling side cases. This paper puts forward that a mere reverse of the standard methodologies employed for selling side cases are insufficient for the application in buyer side cases. Thus, it is necessary reassessing the current techniques and their application to be applied to buyer power cases. I submit that in all buyer power cases the market definition ought to be made in both the upstream market and downstream market by adopting a dualistic market definition in buyer power cases. Particular attention ought to be paid to the circumstance of whether the undertaking has market power in the downstream market as this will directly affect whether the conduct is anticompetitive or not. Lastly, this dualistic definition is justified as it fully captures the competitive effects of monopsony or bargaining power and allows for a proper appreciation of buyer power’s welfare effects from a consumer’s perspective.

The working paper I presented is available at:

I will be presenting a reviewed version of this paper on May 28-29th in the upcoming Annual Workshop of the Competition Law and Economics Network organized by TILEC in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Please let me know of your comments/suggestions regarding my paper on market definition in buyer power cases!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Competition and Buyer Power through an Ordoliberal lens makes top two ten!

Thanks to all of you, my paper on “Competition and Buyer Power through an Ordoliberal lens” has reached in the last two weeks the two top ten lists of most read/download papers of the two categories it has been classified by SSRN: Regulation (European) and Competition Law (European). This is a great source of satisfaction, proud and at the same time thankfulness to those of you interested in my research.

If you have not yet read the paper and want to find out what Ordoliberalism is all about, have a look at it.

Have a good weekend!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Visiting the EFTA Court

For the next 3 weeks I will be in Luxembourg doing a research visit to the EFTA Court to learn more about EEA law and get some literature related to competition law and public procurement. This is an opportunity that I am looking forward to and that I have been very lucky to get!

The EFTA Court is the little brother of the ECJ. This body has jurisdiction with regard to EFTA States which are parties to the EEA Agreement: Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. Nope, Switzerland who is part of the EFTA Agreement is not under the scrutiny of the EFTA Court (very odd but not a surprise when it comes to Switzerland and its peculiar relation with European Integration).

The Court has competence to deal with breaches of the EEA Agreement (basically an extension of the internal market fundamental freedoms) by rendering Judgments determining breaches of EEA law, advisory opinions for national courts dealing with EEA matters and deciding appeals from the EFTA Surveillance Authority (the parallel of the EU Commission).

In relation to my research there have been very few cases in the sphere EEA law that had dealt with buyer power. The notable exception is the Norwegian Color Line case (case no 59120). Apart from this case I have not found any other one in which buyer power has been an important element of a decision and/or Judgment so far. If you know of any, do let me know!

This picture was taken, literally, next to the Faculty of Law of the UiB!
Copyright: Uwe Kahl and found at
I have managed to do a bit of sightseeing so far as well and… Luxembourg is an odd city! Not only the city itself is built in an interesting and unusual way (in layers and filled with elevators/bridges/hills/cliffs) but also I am always confused what language to use: German, French, Luxembourgish… English? You never know what the other person will speak. Has been fun and interesting. Also the languages issues serve as somehow “market sharing”. Look at this pictures of these 2 fast-food restaurants. They are next to each other (literally)… do you notice something about the languages they use to attract clients?!

I am looking forward to these next weeks to learn more about EEA law and write a lot for my dissertation.

Until soon!