The European Commission (EC) has long intended to play a leadership role in setting a pan-European competition policy; yet, both centralized and decentralized tendencies have been manifest in the European context for competition policy. It is not clear then whether these leadership intentions translate into actual leadership by the EC. We shed light on this issue by considering and estimating whether the EC's leadership is both evident and robust. We present a framework that highlights the costs to Member States of diverging from EC merger policy norms. Employing cross-national panel data (covering 1994-2005) on European merger control, we find that changes in the EC's proclivity to remedy mergers are reflected in Member States in subsequent years. Thus, the European Commission appears to play a leadership role in setting the tenor of merger policy throughout Europe.
- merger policy