Research Group for European Law

Ignacio Hererra Anchustegui visiting the University of Wisconsin

As a part of his PhD project Stipendiat Ignacio Herrera Anchustegui is visiting the University of Wisconsin in the United States to research the legal regulation of buyer power in US Antitrust Law.

a man outside a law building
Ignacio outside the law building

Main content

Buyer power is the capacity of certain purchasers to exercise market power vis-à-vis their suppliers in order to obtain better terms of trade. Buyer power can be either beneficial or negative to economic welfare. If the buyer power employed does not reduce the quantities purchased and the benefits derived therefrom are passed to the final consumer in the form of lower prices, then buyer (bargaining) power is beneficial as a whole. However, if buyer power implies a reduction in the amounts of goods purchased to decrease the prices paid – demand withholding – then buyer (monopsony) power has a negative impact on welfare and it is only the buyer that benefits from it.

US vs European Competition Law

Despite the fact that buyer power economics are universal its regulation across the Atlantic in EU Competition and US Antitrust Law is different. By and large, US Antitrust Law adopts a more hands-off approach (under-enforcement) to buyer power regulation focusing on the (short term) wellbeing of end consumers without regard for the economic considerations of rival buyers nor suppliers. On the other hand, EU Competition Law takes a more “hands-on” approach (over-enforcement) that seeks for the wellbeing of consumers by protecting competition as a process and granting a limited protection to the interest of rival buyers and, to a small degree, exploited suppliers.

As part of his research Ignacio will explore to what extent there are differences in the regulatory approaches to buyer power and whether those different regulatory avenues have an impact in the end result of the controversy. These results will be incorporated to his PhD dissertation that is due for the Fall of 2016.

Creating ties with US Antitrust scholars

As part of his research visit Ignacio will be collaborating with Prof. Peter C. Carstensen (University of Wisconsin), a specialist in the field of US Buyer Power Regulation. Ignacio has also been invited to present part of his research at the Global Legal Studies Seminar. Also, Ignacio has been invited by Prof. Daniel J. Gifford (University of Minneapolis) to participate in his comparative seminar in EU/US Competition Law and discuss with staffs and students the differences among the two systems concerning exclusionary buyer power. Prof. Gifford is one of the few American Scholars that has done comparative studies with EU Competition Law. Lastly, Ignacio will also be liaising with the academic staff of the Mitchell-Hamline School of Law, which Prof. II Larry Bakken belongs to, to strengthening the ties between our Law Faculty and this prestigious Law School with whom the UiB has exchanged agreements with. 

If you are interested in Ignacio´s work please visit his SSRN page