Competition Laws in Conflict
Antitrust Jurisdiction in the Global Economy

Competition Laws in Conflict

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The growth and integration of national and global markets should make the world more competitive and antitrust policy less important. Instead, globalization has produced a veritable antitrust proliferation. When corporate transactions routinely cross borders, anticompetitive practices in one jurisdiction invariably affect producers and consumers in another. A system in which each affected jurisdiction gets to apply its own competition rules to those transactions poses a danger of grave political conflicts and, moreover, intolerable costs for producers, who must comply with the often conflicting demands of multiple jurisdictions. Moreover, states have powerful incentives to permit domestic industries to exploit outsiders, or even to facilitate such practices. High-profile antitrust conflicts, from the prosecution of Microsoft in state, national, and international forums to the transatlantic disagreement over the European Union's merger policy, illustrate the difficulties.

Possible solutions to these problems range from improved intergovernmental cooperation, to direct policy harmonization, to a new regime of "structured competition" in antitrust policy modeled on U.S. corporation law. In Competition Laws in Conflict, leading experts explore these and other routes to a new and better institutional design for global antitrust in the national and international contexts. While the authors all start from the premise that legal rules--substantive and procedural--should seek to maximize aggregate social welfare, many of them disagree on the suitable jurisdictional arrangements. On the domestic front, most authors opt for a sharper distinction between national and local responsibilities. At the international level, the authors' preferences range from a thoroughgoing harmonization of antitrust law to an antidiscrimination regime under WTO auspices to a defense of the existing, near-anarchic regime.

The editors' introduction provides a theoretical framework for the basic jurisdictional problems in antitrust law. Their conclusion reviews the contributions in light of that framework and provides policy recommendations.

Richard A. Epstein is the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago and Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Michael S. Greve is the John G. Searle Scholar and Director of the Federalism Project at the American Enterprise Institute.

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