13 Colum. J. Eur. L. 47 (2006)
Patricia Carmona Botana. European and Competition Law Department in Cuatrecasas, Brussels.
Secret collusive practices often prejudice markets. This is due, in particular, to a small quantity supplied, and a high price imposed, on products through colluding undertakings, with the ultimate harm to consumers. To eliminate such anticompetitive behavior, antitrust officials create various enforcement policies. This Article describes the features that an enforcement program should include by analyzing enforcement mechanisms, sanctions, social and administrative constraints (specifically budget constraints), the antitrust authority’s standard of review, and the timing element of anticompetitive practice disclosure. More precisely, this Article argues that leniency programs may be, if carefully designed, an appropriate instrument of enforcement against anticompetitive and collusive behavior. The analysis below describes the costs and benefits that arise if the antitrust authority implements a leniency program. If there is such a program, this Article suggests which characteristics it should contain to optimize results and avoid adverse effects.