The Problem with Cooperation

Posted: 2 Oct 2008

See all articles by Paul B. Stephan

Paul B. Stephan

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: 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.

Suggested Citation

Stephan, Paul B., The Problem with Cooperation (September, 30 2008). Available at SSRN:

Paul B. Stephan (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

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