Does Within-tenure Experience Make You ‘Tougher’? Evidence from Competition Law
The paper is concerned with the impact of judicial discretion in competition law and broader public policy arenas. The paper looks at a period of UK competition policy when the law provided enormous discretion to those judging the case and asks what factors affected the verdict. In addition to investigating standard economic factors we give special emphasis on the impact of differences between those judging the case. Using company level data of the 431 companies investigated under UK competition law for abuse of monopoly position between 1970 and 2000, we investigate the effect of within-tenure experience and other factors on the verdict and show very strong within-tenure experience effects and significant gender effects. We find that the more experienced the chairman of the investigating panel the more likely a firm will be found ‘guilty'. The paper then investigates competing explanations for this effect.