Comparative Competition Law as a Form of Empiricism

10 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2007

See all articles by Spencer Weber Waller

Spencer Weber Waller

Loyola University Chicago School of Law


This short essay makes a plea for a comparative approach to the formulation of competition policy as an important type of empiricism. The United States is no longer alone, or even unusual, in having a robust form of competition policy. Competition law has enjoyed unparalleled growth throughout the world over the past twenty years. Virtually every western developed nation has created a sophisticated legal system capable of dealing with restrictive agreements, abuses of market power, as well as the notification and regulation of mergers and acquisitions that pose the threat of lessening competition.

The United States is out of step with the rest of the world's competition community in two important ways, At a time when the rest of the world looks to competition law for its transformative and normative potential, the United States remains locked into a narrow vision geared largely to the reflexive application of various competing microeconomic theories. While in many ways United States antitrust has reached an impasse without any visible solution, it is the rest of the world that looks to antitrust for answers to the fundamental questions about how to control economic power in their society, the role and limits of markets and economic activity in a democracy, and the political role and consequences of antitrust rules.

Keywords: comparative competition law, competition law, antitrust, European Union, empirical research, private rights of action

JEL Classification: D40, F13, L10, F02, K21, L40

Suggested Citation

Waller, Spencer Weber, Comparative Competition Law as a Form of Empiricism. Brooklyn Journal of International Law, Vol. XXIII, No. 2, 1997, Available at SSRN:

Spencer Weber Waller (Contact Author)

Loyola University Chicago School of Law ( email )

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