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On the Meaning of Horizontal Agreements in Competition Law

120 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2011 Last revised: 8 Jan 2015

Louis Kaplow

Harvard Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 1, 2011

Abstract

Competition law’s prohibition on price fixing and related horizontal agreements is one of its few uncontroversial provisions and is understood to be well grounded in economic principles that are taken to provide the foundation for competition policy. Upon examination, however, commonly offered views of the law’s conception of agreement prove to be difficult to articulate in an operational manner, at odds with key aspects of legal doctrine and practice, and unrelated to core elements of modern oligopoly theory. This Article explores these and other features of the agreement requirement and suggests the need for a wholesale revision of how competition law should approach the oligopoly problem.

JEL Classification: K21, L41

Suggested Citation

Kaplow, Louis, On the Meaning of Horizontal Agreements in Competition Law (May 1, 2011). Harvard Law and Economics Discussion Paper No. 691. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1873430 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1873430

Louis Kaplow (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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