Fields of Research:Law and Economics / Institutional Economics,
Competition Policy, Intellectual Property,
Regulation, Innovation and Evolutionary Economics,
Multi-level Legal Systems,
Long-term Research Topics:
Competition, Innovation, Diversity, and Competition Law / Intellectual Property
Based upon Schumpeterian and Hayekian approaches to competition, the generation and diffusion of innovations is the most important result of effective competition. Our main research question is what rules in competition law as well as in intellectual property law might lead to more innovation. This refers both to the incentives of these legal rules but also to those effects on innovation that are the result of competition as an evolutionary process of experimentation (diversity). Research projects ask for the impact of diversity on innovation in market competition from an evolutionary economics perspective, for innovation effects of mergers from an empirical persepctive, and on the assessment of innovation effects in European and US merger policy. Particularly interesting is also the interface between competition law and IPlaw, as in the "Refusal to License" cases in regard to the abuse of dominant firms (Art. 102 TFEU).
Multi-level Systems of Legal Rules and Regulation
One of the most fascinating developments in the last twenty years is the evolution of the traditional system of nation states to a very complex international multi-level system of governance. So far both economics and other social sciences are still grappling to develop theoretical approaches for dealing with these phenomena and for offering suitable institutional solutions for making those multi-level governance systems work (optimal (de)centralisation of regulatory powers and interjurisdictional / regulatory competition). Our research questions focus both on the development of a general theoretical framework (economics of legal federalism, mutual recognition) and on a number of applications in various fields of the law (international and European competition policy; corporate law, contract law, and consumer law in Europe). Topics of current research projects deal with EU state aid policy and an European two-level system for regulatory agencies for network industries.
Rules and Law, esp. Rule-oriented Competition Law
Many legal scholars as well as the German tradition of the Freiburg School (Ordoliberalism) and Constitutional Economics claim that the law should be understood as a set of rules for the markets which should be applied by agencies and courts (rules of the game). This notion has been questioned for a long time, recently in the reform of (European) competition law with its clear tendency to decide more on account of the specific economic effects in a case-by-case analysis, leading to the danger of legal uncertainty and even interventionism. Our research questions are the following: Theoretically, a modern law and economics approach (statistical decision theory) is used for analyzing the trade off between the necessity of a differentiated analysis in competition cases without abandoning the rule-character of competition law. This can be used for asking for appropriate specific competition law rules (e.g. in regard to resale price maintenance). However, this topic also raises fundamental theoretical and methodological questions both for the law and the role of legal institutions in a market economy.
Principles of Competition Economics and Current Issues in European Competition Policy
In addition to the specific competition policy issues in the other research topics, research and conference projects deal with other current issues in European competition policy, as, e.g., competition between collecting societies, or the economic approach in competition policy. Another part of the research activities are various publication projects about the principles of competition economics for either teaching purposes or legal commentaries (as the Münchener Kommentar zum Deutschen und Europäischen Wettbewerbsrecht).
Important Research Cooperation:
- Max-Planck-Institute for Competition and Intellectual Property Law (Munich)
- New York University Law School
- European University Institute, Law Department (Florenz)
- Erasmus University of Rotterdam