Newsletter

Standards of proof by competition authorities in small market economies

17.03.2021
Sean F. Ennis The author is a Professor of Competition Policy at the University of East Anglia and Director of its Centre for Competition Policy. He received a BA (Hons) in Economics from King’s College, Cambridge and a PhD in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

Standards of proof, particularly related to minimising the variance around the mean, may appropriately
differ between small market economies and larger ones. Given resource differences, and different starting points of many small economies, it may be that variance of the true situation around the expectation in small economies would be higher than in larger ones. If this were not the case, small economies might not be able to address legitimate complaints, might not have sufficient throughput of cases and might find themselves not achieving their core objective of changing the business environment in the countries in which they operate from one that was permissive if anti-competitive activity to one that follow the law. Creating an environment in which companies choose to follow the law, out of their own self-interest, is crucial for the ultimate success of the competition law enterprise.

Los estándares de prueba, particularmente aquellos que buscan minimizar la variación entre los medios, pueden apropiadamente diferir entre economías pequeñas y grandes. Dadas las diferencias en recursos, y los distintos puntos de partida en muchas economías pequeñas, podría ser que la variación entre la situación real y las expectativas en economías pequeñas sea mayor que la existente en las economías grandes. Si este no fuera el caso, podrá suceder que las economías no puedan ser capaces de abordar demandas legítimas, no tengan un rendimiento suficiente de casos, y que se encuentren en una situación en que no cumplan con su objetivo central de cambiar los ambientes de negocio en sus países, de uno permisivo con la actividad anticompetitiva a uno que cumple con la ley. La creación de un ambiente en el cual las compañías deciden cumplir con la ley, por su propio interés, es fundamental para el éxito último de la empresa del derecho de competencia.

I am thus arguing that competition law convergence cannot occur simultaneously over multiple variables. Policymakers must make choices about which variables to focus on. I here suggest that the main variable should be increasing the level of competition in their economy. In practice, this may increase the likelihood of an error in outcomes in small economies.

DESCARGAR INVESTIGACIÓN