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Walter Eucken and Ordoliberalism: An Introduction from a Consumer Welfare Perspective

Christian Ahlborn

Linklaters LLP

Carsten Grave

Linklaters LLP


Competition Policy International, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2006

This article serves two purposes, (i) to introduce “The Comparative Order and its Implementation,” a seminal article published in 1949 by Walter Eucken, ordoliberalism’s, or the “Freiburg School’s,” most prominent scholar, and (ii) to compare some ordoliberalist competition policy recommenda-tions to those of a consumer welfare standard. The article provides an overview of the key concepts of ordoliberalism (such as “competitive order,” “economic constitution” and “Ordnungspolitik”) and outlines its implications for competition policy. It provides examples for the ordoliberal legacy in German and European competition policy, such as, inter alia, the market share thresholds for dominance, and the control of exploitative abuses such as excessive pricing. Finally, the article gives a critique of ordoliberalism from a consumer welfare perspective, and looks, among other things, at the implications of ordoliberalist policies for innovation and dynamic competition, the roots of the structureconduct-performance paradigm, and the classification of certain forms of unilateral behavior (e.g., tying).

Number of Pages in PDF File: 22

Keywords: Ordoliberalism, Ordoliberalismus, Ordnungspolitik, Eucken, Freiburg School, Freiburger Schul, consumer welfare standard

JEL Classification: K21, L40

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Date posted: April 8, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Ahlborn, Christian and Grave, Carsten, Walter Eucken and Ordoliberalism: An Introduction from a Consumer Welfare Perspective (2006). Competition Policy International, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1585797

Contact Information

Christian Ahlborn (Contact Author)
Linklaters LLP ( email )
One Silk Street
London EC2Y 8HQ
United Kingdom
44 20 7456 2000 (Phone)
44 20 7456 2222 (Fax)
Carsten Grave
Linklaters LLP ( email )
Königsallee 49-51
Düsseldorf, 40212
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