DP1416 Competition Policy in Switzerland

Author(s): Damien J Neven, Thomas von Ungern-Sternberg
Publication Date: June 1996
Keyword(s): Competition Policy, Political Economy, Switzerland
JEL(s): K21, L40
Programme Areas: Industrial Organization
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=1416

This paper provides a critical review of competition policy in Switzerland. We analyse the legal statute, the institutional arrangements for its implementation and the case law since 1985. We find that the Cartel Commission, which was given wide discretion by the law, has been relatively immune from judicial and political challenge and vulnerable to interest groups. The analysis of the relevant markets, the evaluation of dominance and that of countervailing benefits tend to be poorly motivated. In addition, the concept of effective competition, which is central to the implementation of the law, has not been substantiated by the case law. Accordingly, the decisions tend to be highly judgmental, which reflects the weak accountability of the Commission. Fortunately, both the substantial provisions of the law and the institutional framework have been improved by the recent revision of the statute. Being more accountable, the Commission may have no choice but to improve its practice.