The Problem with Cooperation
Paul B. Stephan III
University of Virginia School of Law
September, 30 2008
The case for international cooperation in competition policy is weaker than commonly thought. First, the lion's share of international transactions (the only kind for which international cooperation is relevant) involves industries for which there is no clear consensus about optimal industry structure. Second, there are strong theoretical reasons why states would exploit all forms of regulation, including competition regulation, to benefit incumbent producers to the cost of consumers. Third, the historical record demonstrates that states have invoked competition policy exactly in this manner. Fourth, arguments that competition regulators can gain solidarity and increased leverage against their domestic adversaries through strengthened international cooperation do not withstand scrutiny.
working papers series
Date posted: October 2, 2008
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