Consumer welfare in EU competition law

What is it (not) about?

Victoria Daskalova

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

Abstract

More than a decade after the proclamation of consumer welfare as a goal of EU competition law, a fundamental question remains unanswered: namely, what is the content of the EU consumer welfare standard? What types of benefits and harms count respectively as welfare and as harm? Whose harm and whose benefit is included in the definition? Few answers have been available to these crucial, from a legal perspective, questions.

The goal of this article is to explore the meaning of consumer welfare in terms of these questions. In particular, considering the assumption that the notion of consumer welfare in EU competition law is borrowed from economics, the article will attempt to verify to what extent consumer welfare coincides with the notion of consumer surplus in economics. The focus is therefore on 1) whether consumer can be taken to mean the final consumer or the intermediary purchaser and 2) whether the notion of harm refers primarily to price effects. Part I of the paper focuses on the definition of consumer welfare in antitrust law and in economics. Part II considers the definitions of consumer welfare in the Commission’s soft law and argues that a finding of an end user surplus cannot be supported. Part III turns to the jurisprudence of the European Courts and argues that support for end-user surplus cannot be found in the Court’s case law. The paper concludes that although we do not find support for an end-user surplus standard in the Court’s jurisprudence, the change in language in the 2012 Post Danmark ruling leaves us wondering as to whether and in what direction the Court’s approach might change.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015

Publication series

NameTILEC Discussion Paper
Volume2015-011

Fingerprint

EU
welfare
Law
jurisprudence
antitrust law
economics
case law
language

Keywords

  • consumer welfare
  • producer welfare
  • end-user surplus
  • welfare tradeoffs
  • antitrust law
  • modernization of EU competition law

Cite this

Daskalova, V. (2015). Consumer welfare in EU competition law: What is it (not) about? (TILEC Discussion Paper; Vol. 2015-011).
Daskalova, Victoria. / Consumer welfare in EU competition law : What is it (not) about?. 2015. (TILEC Discussion Paper).
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Daskalova, V 2015 'Consumer welfare in EU competition law: What is it (not) about?' TILEC Discussion Paper, vol. 2015-011.

Consumer welfare in EU competition law : What is it (not) about? / Daskalova, Victoria.

2015. (TILEC Discussion Paper; Vol. 2015-011).

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

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Daskalova V. Consumer welfare in EU competition law: What is it (not) about? 2015 May 1. (TILEC Discussion Paper).