Strategic Firm-Authority Interaction in Antitrust, Merger Control and Regulation, March 16, 2007

The Amsterdam Center for Law & Economics (ACLE) at the University of Amsterdam organizes its third annual Competition & Regulation Meeting. The topic of this year's workshop is:

Strategic Firm-Authority Interaction in Antitrust, Merger Control and Regulation

March 16, 2007
Universiteit van Amsterdam, Law Faculty
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Keynote Speakers

Stephen Calkins (Wayne State University Law School)
Mark Powell (White & Case LLP)
Pieter Kalbfleisch (Netherlands Competition Authority)
R. Preston McAfee (California Institute of Technology)
Silke Obst (European Commission)

Introduction to the Topic

The stakes in competition policy are high and the parties involved are sophisticated players. Effective competition policy requires both good law-making and vigilant enforcement. Firms react strategically to the legislative process, the avenues through which competition laws are enforced and the ways of the competition authorities. Private parties might, for example, try and abuse the competition laws to hassle their competitors. They may dispute contracts as prejudiced by an antitrust infringement, or try to elicit costly antitrust investigations. Initiating frivolous antitrust or illegal state aid claims may encourage market exit or extort antitrust damage settlements. Hard core cartels are involved in a game of hide and seek with the enforcement agencies. Ever more advanced detection methods a met by clever ways to fly below the radar. Monopolization or abuse of dominance can be disguised as good competition according to innovative business models. Companies subject to (hostile) takeover may try to influence merger control. Likewise, regulated industries may lobby for favorable rules and treatment.

Competition authorities and regulatory agencies need to be aware of these strategic dimensions of their oversight role. They must protect the competition laws and regulations from being abused by setting the right priorities in enforcement. Law enforcement is a game of asymmetric information and application of unequal resources. Authorities with a reputation for being decisive and just can credibly commit to targeted and efficient interventions. Economic theory and legal studies each provide insight into the political economy of competition law enforcement.

The ACLE invites scholars and practitioners to discuss the strategic interaction between firms, competition authorities and regulators in antitrust, merger control and regulation at the 3rd ACLE Competition & Regulation Meeting. ACLE organizes a full-day event with keynote addresses and (parallel) contributed paper sessions to discuss both academic and practical consequences of these issues.

Key-note Addresses

R. Preston McAfee is J. Stanley Johnson Professor of Business, Economics & Management at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He is a specialist in the economics of antitrust, on which he publishes in the top academic journals. Professor McAfee has a series of recent papers (in part joint with Nicholas Vakkur, Hugo Mailon and Sue Mailon) in which he discusses critically how the antitrust laws and competition rules are open to strategic abuse and warns against resulting harm to the competitive process. The title of Professor McAfee's talk is Public and Private Antitrust Enforcement: A Strategic Analysis. Below you find links to two recent papers.

Stephen Calkins, Professor of Law at the Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, is widely published in the area of antitrust law, including US-EU comparative law. Parallel to his academic work and private counseling, he advises the Federal Trade Commission. One of Professor Calkin’s areas of expertise is the interaction between competition authorities and the courts, where he instigated a line of research in the early 1980’s with his work on equilibrating tendencies in the antitrust system. The title of Professor Calkin's talk is Private Interests and Public Antitrust Enforcement.

Plenary contributions

Pieter Kalbfleisch (Netherlands Competition Authority), Silke Obst (European Commission) and Mark Powell (White & Case LLP).

Round-table

In the afternoon, there will be a round-table discussion. The key-note speakers will be joined by two practitioners. Silke Obst, Coordinator of Unit A-1, Antitrust policy and scrutiny of the European Commission's Competition Directorate-General, discusses the workshop topic from the point of view of public policy. Mark Powell, partner in the Brussels office of White & Case LLP, contributes observations from private practice. Preston McAfee and Stephen Calkins will have a chance to respond, after which the discussion will be open, also to the floor.

Call for Papers - Now Closed

Scholars, private practitioners and officials from competition authorities are invited to submit their work (in progress) on the workshop topic to be considered for inclusion in the contributed paper sessions. We welcome all original research that is related to the specialized workshop topic.

The deadline for submission is February 1, 2007. Decisions on inclusion in the workshop program will be communicated by mid February 2007.

Workshop Program

The scientific program committee, which consists of Stephen Calkins, Kati Cseres, Maarten Pieter Schinkel (chair), R. Preston McAfee, Jeroen van de Ven and Floris Vogelaar, has produced the enclosed full day program.

List of Participants

The list of participants can be downloaded through the link below.

Workshop Papers and Presentations

Papers (or abstracts) and presentations available for downloading can be found at the link below.

Closing Drinks and Buffet

As in previous years, the workshop program is closed with drinks and a buffet in the beautiful restaurant 'In de Waag', Nieuwmarkt 4 in Amsterdam.

Registration and Fees - Now Closed

The fee for the workshop is euro 85 for (full-time) academics and euro 225 for practitioners.

To register for the workshop, click on the link below. Payment details will be provided with confirmation of your on-line registration. Please note that there is a limited number of places available, so early registration is advised.

A limited number of reduced fees is available for selected young scholars (PhD candidates and post-docs). To be considered for a fee waiver, please motivate your position by separate e-mail to acle@uva.nl. There is no fee for presenters of contributed papers (they select the "waived fee" option).

The registration fee includes workshop participation and materials, luncheon, refreshments, closing drinks and buffet.

NOvA

Dutch participants can receive a certificate with 5 permanent education points from the NOvA.

Directions to the Conference Venue

From Schiphol Airport you can take the train to the city centre of Amsterdam (Amsterdam Centraal Station). For most of the day, trains run from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Central Station every 10 minutes.

To get to the Faculty of Law from Amsterdam’s Central Station, you can use tramlines 4, 9, 16, 24, or 25. Get out at the second stop (Spui). The street you are on now is the Rokin. Take a left and cross the bridge to enter the alley Langebrugsteeg. Follow it through to Grimburgwal. At the end of Grimburgwal, take a left onto the canal named Oudezijds Achterburgwal. Immediately on your right hand side is the gate to the Oudemanhuispoort. Go through the gate and go halfway down the passage. On your left hand side, you will find the courtyard with the main entrance to the Faculty of Law.

We do not advise you to bring your car into Amsterdam’s city center. However, if you do wish to come by car, the Waterloo Square parking lot is closest to the Conference Venue.

Below you will find a map with the location of the workshop venue (number 7).

By taxi from Schiphol Airport, the trip to the workshop location will cost you approximately €50 and will take about half an hour.

Hotel Accommodation

Participants are to arrange their own lodging. The following is a selection of hotels in de vicinity of the conference venues.

  • The Grand *****Deluxe
    Oudezijds Voorburgwal 197
    Website: www.thegrand.nl
    Phone: +31 (0)20 555 3555
    Prices from € 275
  • NH Doelen ****
    Nieuwe Doelenstraat 24
    Website: www.nh-hotels.com
    Phone: +31 (0)20-5540662
    Prices from € 140
  • Le Coin ***
    Nieuwe Doelenstraat 5
    Website www.lecoin.nl
    Phone: +31 (0)20 524 6800
    Prices from € 90 (mention ACLE Conference)
  • Arena Hotel ***
    's Gravesandestraat 51
    Website www.hotelarena.nl
    Phone: +31 (0)20 8502400
    Prices from € 100
  • Hostel Stay OK Amsterdam Vondelpark
    Zandpad 5
    Website: www.stayokay.com
    Phone: + 31 (0)20 5898996
    Prices from € 73,50

Sponsors

Allen & Overy LLP
CRA International
Houthoff Buruma
Stibbe

The City of Amsterdam

For more information on Amsterdam and surrounding events programmed in the city mid March, see the link below.

Pictures of the event

Behind the link below, you find some pictures of speakers and participants taken during the workshop.

Surrounding Events

Professor McAfee will present on "Pricing" at the NMa, on Thursday March 15 at 12:00 hrs. Professor Calkins will discuss recent developments in American and European antitrust with the Vereniging voor Mededingingsrecht (Dutch Association for Competition Law) at Freshfields' Amsterdam Office on Thursday March 15 at 16:00 hrs.

Organizing Committee

The organizing committee consists of: Iwan Bos, Kati Cseres, Jakob Rüggeberg, Francesco Russo, Maarten Pieter Schinkel (chair), Jeroen van de Ven, Floris Vogelaar and Irene Wamelink.

For further inquiries contact the ACLE Office at +31 (0)20 525 4162 or the e-mail address below.

For further information about the ACLE, see www.acle.nl.

Past C&R Meetings

The Competition & Regulation meetings are a series of annual workshops that focus on topics in competition law enforcement. Around a program of key-note speakers, (young) scholars discuss submitted academic papers in parallel sessions. The leading idea is to inform European competition policy on the basis of the considerably longer US antitrust tradition. The aim is to attract roughly 150 specialized participants from academia, government antitrust agencies, law and consulting firms to create the optimal conditions for a high level exchange of views.

The first C&R Meeting, in February 2005, titled Remedies and Sanctions in Competition Policy: Economic and Legal Implications of the Tendency to Criminalize Antitrust Enforcement in the EU Member States, was on the trend to criminalize antitrust law in Europe. Key-note speakers included Claus-Dieter Ehlermann, William Kovacic, Eleanor Fox, Giancarlo Spagnolo, Wouter Wills and Bruce Lyons. There were in total eight parallel session meetings. A book with the best efforts of this opening event of the ACLE was recently published by Edward Elgar.

The second C&R Meeting, in March 2006 was on Forensic Economics in Competition Law Enforcement. Key-note speakers included Franklin Fisher, Andrew I. Gavil and John Connor. In total eight parallel sessions showed a wide variety of scholarly contributions by scholars from an wide array of backgrounds. A special issue of the Journal of Competition Law and Economics on the topic is forthcoming.

Published by  ACLE

5 September 2012