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Introduction

Einar Hope

Antitrust cases can often be quite complex and competition authorities typically face a difficult task in analysing the cases and trying to reach well-founded decisions on the basis of all available, relevant information and evidence. They have to combine descriptive information and statistical data of markets and firms with legal, institutional and technical information into a coherent framework of analysis for decision-making within a fairly limited time. The cases are also as a rule becoming more complex to analyse and handle because of developments in market and competition conditions, e.g. market integration, convergence, and internationalization of markets. In addition, firms are drawing increasingly on advice from experts who are well versed in modern economic and legal analysis of competition, when cases are brought against them by competition authorities.

It is therefore important for competition authorities regularly to evaluate their principles and methods of analysis and update them with new methodological and analytical insights which can improve the case handling and decisionmaking processes. The intention of the conference, upon which this book is based, was primarily to make a contribution to one dimension of this issue, i.e. with regard to principles and methods for the economic analysis of competition. Legal and institutional issues are also covered, but the emphasis is on economic analysis.

In 1996 the Norwegian Competition Authority initiated a study on principles and methods of competition policy analysis as a background to developing an analytical, operational framework which could be used by the Authority to improve its approach to the analysis of practical issues and cases. It was also explicitly stated that the suggested framework and approach should be illustrated with specific examples to document its applicability and usefulness in practice. Four experts were appointed to undertake the study: Professor Victor D. Norman (chairman) of the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (International trade, imperfect competition), Professor Nils-Henrik Mørch von der Fehr of the University of Oslo (Industrial organization, regulation), Professor Torger Reve of the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (Organization theory, strategic analysis) and lawyer, Dr Anders Christian Stray Ryssdal of the Oslo-based law firm Wiersholm, Mellbye & Bech. The experts submitted their report in February 1998. 1

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