PROGRAMME | LC2017
3 July 2017 – first day
8.30am – 9.30am
Coffee and registration
9.30am – 10.00am
10.00am – 11.30am
First session – Public Procurement and Competition Policy: Friends or Foes?
Fostering competition is one of the main aims pursued by the policies that govern public procurement. Yet, contracting authorities seem reluctant to use the instruments of competition policy. The first session of the conference will investigate the reasons that can explain this attitude.
A potential explanation of the skepticism of contracting authorities is that they think that antitrust intervention can disrupt the procurement of goods, services and work (short-termism). In addition, they may believe that competition authorities lack adequate knowledge of the markets and of the technical requirements that meet the demand’s needs and therefore should not meddle with the procurement process.
A less benign reason is that public officials collude with suppliers to distort the procurement process. An example of such a case is the Japanese scheme known as kansei-dango whereby bid-rigging is assisted or facilitated by public officials.
Paolo Buccirossi, Lear
11.30am – 12.00pm
12.00pm – 13.30pm
Second session – Corruption and collusion
Fighting corruption and fighting collusion are two important policy goals. In order to have consistent policies we first need to understand the relationship between corruption and collusion. Are they independent phenomena? Are they positively correlated? Is there some causal relationship between the two? If so, should we target corruption in order to reduce the risk of collusion or the other way around? Even if correlated, corruption and collusion remain distinct phenomena and some policy choice (e.g. transparency) that may help contrasting the former may facilitate the latter. How can we solve possible conflicts?
Alberto Heimler, National School of Administration
13.30pm – 14.30pm
15.00pm – 16.30pm
Third session – Screening tools and big data
Cartels conviction requires the collection of evidence that meets a high standard of proof. According to the EU case law, to prove an infringement the existence of an anticompetitive agreement must be the only plausible explanation of the observed behavior. Therefore, competition authorities look for documentary evidence to prove their allegations. However, firms have become very smart in concealing evidence of their misbehavior, making cartel prosecution very hard. Economics can help mitigating the problem in two ways. First, economic analysis can be used to select markets or cases in which illegal collusion is a plausible explanation of the observed outcome and participants’ conduct. These screening tools may help focusing investigations in those cases in which the actual existence of a cartel is more likely. Second, it may help collecting circumstantial evidence to be used to prove the infringement. Although this type of evidence is rarely sufficient to meet the required standard of proof, it can corroborate other pieces of evidence and contribute to a successful cartel prosecution.
The third session deals with screening tools. What are the screening tools developed in the economic literature? Are they effective? What are the risks of false positive or false negative? What is their data requirement? How the availability of a large set of information (big data) may be exploited to enhance the reliability of these tools? Who should be in charge of their use?
Pierluigi Sabbatini, Italian Competition Authority
16.30pm – 17.00pm
Aperitif & Walking Tour
End your first day at our conference with an aperitif and a guided walking tour of the monumental ruins of the Roman Empire.
Enjoy the extraordinary history of Rome and learn about the structure of the Roman society while exploring the “Eternal City”.
4 July 2017 – second day
9.30am – 11.00am
Fourth session – Circumstantial evidence to prove bid rigging
In the economic literature circumstantial evidence that can be used to detect bid rigging is referred to as “plus factors” or “super-plus factors”. What are these plus factors? Why do they have evidentiary power? Which super-plus factors or combination therein and in which circumstances can be deemed sufficient to legally prove an illicit conduct?
Tommaso Salonico, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
11.00am – 11.30am
11.30am – 13.00pm
Fifth session – Actions for damages
Private enforcement, including actions for damages, is considered an important pillar of competition law enforcement. The European institutions have undertaken many initiatives to foster these actions, including the Directive 2014/104/EU. These moves have proved successful and the number of damage litigations has boosted over the most recent years. However, so far public contracting authorities have not taken advantage of this instrument as they could. Why? What are the hurdles they face? Is damage quantification considered too complex? Are they too costly? What measures can be adopted to encourage contracting authorities to seek compensation for the harm suffered by citizens and taxpayers?
Margarita Milikh, IDLO
Giovanni Pitruzzella, Chairman Italian Competition Authority*
Italian lawyers get 10 credits from the BAR Association for attending
*Please note that the program is still subject to minor changes.