Let's Not Stick Together: Anticipation of Cartel and Merger Control in The Netherlands

B. Baarsma, R.G.M. Kemp, R. van der Noll, J. Seldeslachts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Does enforcement action by the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) in the case of cartels and mergers produce an anticipatory effect? We use surveys among firms and their advisers to test whether merger plans that may fail to gain clearance from the NMa are not notified and whether the possibility of detection helps to reduce the number of cartels. Our results indicate that enforcement action by the NMa has a preventive effect. Surveys among companies show that 5% of the notified mergers were modified before notification to forestall possible objections from the NMa. Moreover, for every 100 notifications of mergers there are 13 proposed mergers that are later on abandoned due to merger control. Companies also take account of the Competition Act when drafting contracts, conducting negotiations and holding meetings. Our survey among lawyers and other advisers shows that for every sanction decision taken by the NMa there are almost 5 cases in which, unbeknown to the NMa, a prohibited act has been terminated or modified in response to advice on competition law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-376
JournalDe Economist - Quarterly Review of The Royal Netherlands Economic Association
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • antitrust enforcement
  • competition policy
  • deterrence

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