We investigate the impact of competition policy enforcement on the functioning of European energy markets, and how sectoral regulation influences these outcomes. For this purpose, we compile a new dataset on the European Commission's (EC) and EU member states' competition policy decisions, and combine it with firm- and sector-level data. We find that EC merger policy has a positive and robust impact on (i) the level of competition; (ii) investment; and (iii) productivity. This impact, however, only shows up in low-regulated sectors. Other competition policy decisions - EC state aid and anti-trust interventions; as well as all individual Member State policy variables - do not have a uniform effect on energy markets' functioning. Our findings are consistent with the idea that the EC's merger policy actions have been used to overcome significant obstacles to a well-functioning EU energy sector and may well have shaped the overall development of gas and electricity markets in Europe.
ex-post evaluation energy markets competition policy