The More Economic Approach in European Competition Law: Is More Too Much or Not Enough?
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European competition law witnesses an increased use of economics. More economics does not necessarily imply better competition law. First, the relevance of economic approaches depends on the goals that competition law is supposed to achieve. If the goal is to achieve total welfare, there is not yet enough economics in Eu competition law, as can be illustrated by the prohibition of vertical minimum price-fixing and the uncompensated deadweight-loss in damages claims. However, total welfare may conflict with different economic goals, more particularly the maximisation of consumer welfare and the protection of the competitive process as such. Second, the More Economic Approach of the European Commission may be criticised for neglecting alternative economic approaches. Insufficient attention is paid to the possibility of revitalising ordoliberal principles of Eu competition law and the focus on short-term price effects neglects concerns of dynamic efficiency. Third, economic approaches must be fitted into an existing legal framework. From the latter perspective, there may be too much (or wrong) economics in European competition law. Economic models must be relevant to understand real-life markets and requirements of the legal system must be incorporated into the economic analysis. In sum, depending on the goals to be achieved there is either too much or not enough economics in European competition law.