Economic analysis according to the European School of Thought plays an important role in the assessment of a possible abuse of a dominant market position.
Economic analysis is applied to define the relevant market in which an alleged abuse occurs, to establish dominance, as well as to assess the actual and potential effects of an alleged abusive practice on the relevant market.
- Definition of the relevant market: One way to determine the relevant market is to perform the hypothetical monopolist test (HM test). With this test the smallest set of products and geographical areas, for which a small increase in price by the dominant firm would be profitable, is defined. This is done in practice by looking at evidence of substitution in the past, by performing quantitative tests (price elasticity and cross-price elasticities) and by implementing consumer/customer surveys.
- Assessment of dominance: A dominant position is a requirement when assessing abusive behavior. A firm is considered to be dominant if it holds substantial market power over a significant period of time, so that it can behave to an appreciable extent independently of its competitors and customers. Dominance is determined by looking at market shares, entry barriers, sunk costs, product differentiation, competitive advantages enjoyed by the alleged dominant firm, potential competition in the market and countervailing buyer power.
- Effects of alleged abusive conduct: Having established dominance, the actual, likely and dynamic effects of a practice must be evaluated for such practice to be classified as an abuse. Economic analysis is indispensable to quantify the pro-competitive and anti-competitive effects.
EE&MC has extensive experiences and proven expertise in assessing market dominance within Article 102 TFEU.
EE&MC has advised clients on a significant number of abuse of dominance cases both at European and national level.
The analysis of market power is carried out both by means of quantitative econometric techniques and more qualitative methods, depending on the availability of the relevant data. In addition, EE&MC offers a wide array of economic tools in order to assess the abuse of an allegedly dominant position within the new framework as outlined in the EU's guidance paper to Article 102 TFEU.