LAW AND ECONOMY: COLLECTIVE DOMINANT POSITION - COMPETITION AUTHORITIES - ARTICLE 102 TFUE - TACIT COLLUSION - DEFINITION - AIRTOURS CRITERIA - DETECTING - STANDARD OF PROOF - EX POST INTERVENTION - ECONOMIC DEFINITION

Collective dominant position: Overcoming the Airtours criteria in the ex post control of anti-competitive practices

The Airtours criteria do not allow establishing ex post the existence of a collective dominant position as they are used to identify market situations where there is a risk that a collective dominant position emerges in the future. In an ex post intervention, it is necessary to demonstrate that tacit collusion was effective in the past and not that there is simply a risk. In enforcement of article 102 TFUE, such a standard of proof is not out of reach as competition authorities have the means to analyze the past in order to demonstrate that it actually fits a tacit collusion equilibrium. In addition, economic analysis provides robust tools for detecting tacit collusion. In particular, the presence or the absence of incentives to deviate from a common line of interest is a robust and simple test to implement since, being a direct result of the economic definition of tacit collusion, it does not depend on the relevant model of competition in a given industry.

Introduction 1. Bien que le concept de la position dominante collective soit né dans une affaire de pratiques anticoncurrentielles [1], il a principalement prospéré dans le cadre du contrôle des concentrations. Dans ce domaine, la position dominante collective permet d'appréhender un risque d'effet anticoncurrentiel, différent des effets horizontaux classiques dits “unilatéraux” et qui se caractérise par des modifications de la structure du marché engendrées par une opération de concentration susceptibles de faciliter l'émergence de comportements collusifs. On parle d'effets coordonnés. 2. La jurisprudence communautaire a conduit à l’élaboration d’un test économique pour caractériser un risque d’effets coordonnés. Les critères cumulatifs de l’arrêt Airtours [2] permettent, dans le cadre de l’exercice

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Éric Avenel, Gildas de Muizon, Nathalie Daley, Collective dominant position: Overcoming the Airtours criteria in the ex post control of anti-competitive practices, December 2011, Concurrences N° 4-2011, Art. N° 39886, pp. 41-50

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