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Jones & Sufrin's EU Competition LawText, Cases, and Materials

Jones & Sufrin's EU Competition Law: Text, Cases, and Materials (7th edn)

Alison Jones, Brenda Sufrin, and Niamh Dunne
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date: 30 March 2023

p. 6429. Horizontal Agreements—Cartels and Collusionlocked

p. 6429. Horizontal Agreements—Cartels and Collusionlocked

  • Alison Jones, Alison JonesProfessor of Law, King’s College, London
  • Brenda SufrinBrenda SufrinEmeritus Professor of Law, University of Bristol
  •  and Niamh DunneNiamh DunneAssociate Professor of Law, London School of Economics


This chapter examines how EU competition law applies both to undertakings operating cartels and to undertakings that tacitly coordinate their behaviour on a market. It starts by looking at the difference between ‘explicit’ and ‘tacit’ collusion in the light of the theory of games and the ‘prisoners’ dilemma’. The chapter then deals with cartels and other agreements akin to cartels, or which may facilitate explicit or tacit collusion on a market. Next, it considers the problem of tacit collusion and whether, in particular, Articles 101 and 102 operate as effective mechanisms for dealing with the oligopoly problem. The chapter also considers other options that EU competition law might offer to deal with tacit collusion, either ex ante or ex post, such as the use of the concept of collective dominance and sector enquiries under Regulation 1/2003, art 17.

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