Intentional and Evolutionary Visions of US Antitrust Law – Teaching Module Presentation Notes and Slides

43 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2009 Last revised: 26 Dec 2009

See all articles by Subbu Kumarappan

Subbu Kumarappan

Michigan State University - Department of Agricultural Economics

Date Written: March 5, 2009


This article considers how economic research and rationale have changed the interpretation and implementation of US antitrust laws. Section 1 considers the two opposing ideologies that contributed to the development and implementation of US antitrust laws viz. INTENTIONAL and EVOLUTIONARY visions. The intentional vision regards markets can be swayed by powerful interests resulting in corrupt outcomes requiring a bigger role for government intervention to improve the economic welfare. Thus the antitrust institution is generally strengthened by the intentional vision. In contrast, the evolutionary vision limits the degree and extent of government intervention; in its purist form based on libertarian principles (the closest example being Austrian economic thought), the evolutionary vision regards 'free market' processes to always result in morally good outcomes, hence with no role for government intervention. The article argues that 'strengthening' or 'repealing' of antitrust laws are untenable but 'reforming' of antitrust institutions are possible based on a moderate-evolutionary perspective. It argues that 'antitrust laws should promote and enhance the trio of - consumer welfare, competition process, and dynamic (productive and allocative) efficiency.'

Section 2 considers The role of US antitrust in a globalized world are discussed in section 2. The last section provides US antitrust cases (and the economic rationale for their rulings) that exemplifies the Intentional and Evolutionary visions. The article is presented as a teaching module with tips for teaching the undergraduate students in Industrial Organization. The presentation answers questions such as: * What are the economic bases used to rule in antitrust cases? * How the interpretation of antitrust laws changed over time? * Whether the current interpretation is valid or will it change in the future? * Will there be a new role for antitrust policies in a globalized world? * What industry characteristics lead to any radically opposing indictments?

This article can be covered as a teaching supplement and used ideally by the end of the course as it revisits and discusses alternative viewpoints for many Industrial Organization concepts (economies of scale, industry structure, competition, welfare).

Keywords: Antitrust, Globalization, Intentional, Evolutionary visions, ideology, economics, law

JEL Classification: L4, L40, K21, A12, A22, B1, B2, O50, Z00

Suggested Citation

Kumarappan, Subramanian, Intentional and Evolutionary Visions of US Antitrust Law – Teaching Module Presentation Notes and Slides (March 5, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Subramanian Kumarappan (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - Department of Agricultural Economics ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

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