Detecting abuse of dominance
Determing when a firm’s behaviour is an abuse of market power, as opposed to a competitive action, is one of the most complex and controversial areas in competition policy. Competition laws typically contain provisions prohibiting abuse of market power by dominant firms or attempts of not yet dominant firms to monopolise markets.
However, there is considerable divergence among jurisdictions about the precise definition of dominance, the range of practices and conducts that should be condemned as anti-competitive, and finally the choice of remedies that should be imposed.
Examples of abusive practices typically include:
- predatory pricing
- loyalty rebates
- tying and bundling
- refusals to deal
- margin squeeze
- excessive pricing
A proper understanding of when a firm’s actions could be considered abusive is important for competition authorities because consumers’and the economy would be harmed by an incorrect intervention. A firm with a large market share, which might be considered dominant, also needs to understand the law and economics in this area, which is not always easy.
To promote effective enforcement of competition laws in the area of abuse of dominance and monopolisation, the OECD Competition Committee holds roundtable discussions, typically with the participation of businesses, academics and other interested participants. As a result, Best Practice Roundtables proceedings are published to provide some guidance to best practices in this area, at the cutting edge of applied competition law and policy.
For further information on the OECD work related to abuse of dominance and monopolisation, please contact us at DAFCOMPContact@oecd.org.
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