Normative Goals in Merger Control: Why Merger Control Should Not Attempt to Achieve 'Better' Outcomes than Competition

23 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2020 Last revised: 27 Feb 2021

See all articles by Stefan Thomas

Stefan Thomas

University of Tuebingen - Faculty of Law

Date Written: January 2, 2020

Abstract

Critical observers state that current antitrust policies fall short of addressing the wider societal implications of a market economy, inter alia in merger control. The interests of employees in decent wages, merger impacts on the environment, or the pursuit of a governmental industrial policy are claimed to deserve recognition beyond the traditional consumer welfare paradigm. This article voices skepticism. Such postulates can jeopardize an important achievement: to have bestowed on consumers the mandate of being the ultimate sovereign over the outcomes of the competitive process. Antitrust agencies would become exposed to a plethora of irreconcilable societal expectations and rent seeking efforts. This would lead to an increased politicization of merger enforcement, and it would weaken competition as a design-principle for a market economy. This article claims that society at large is better served with a merger control regime that devotes itself to consumer welfare through competition as a mono-teleology.

Keywords: mergers, consumer welfare, environment, industrial policy, labour markets

JEL Classification: K21, L38, L40, L41

Suggested Citation

Thomas, Stefan, Normative Goals in Merger Control: Why Merger Control Should Not Attempt to Achieve 'Better' Outcomes than Competition (January 2, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3513098 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3513098

Stefan Thomas (Contact Author)

University of Tuebingen - Faculty of Law ( email )

Geschwister Scholl Platz
Tuebingen, 72074
Germany
0049-7071-29-72556 (Phone)
0049-7071-29-2105 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.jura.uni-tuebingen.de/professoren_und_dozenten/thomas

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
356
Abstract Views
1,637
rank
110,406
PlumX Metrics