Avoiding the 'Robin Hood Syndrome' in Developing Antitrust Jurisdictions

William E. Kovacic: An Antitrust Tribute – Liber Amicorum (Vol. I) (Charbit et al. eds., February 2013)

14 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2013  

Alden F. Abbott

Government of the United States of America - Federal Trade Commission

Seth B. Sacher

Federal Trade Commission

Date Written: December 12, 2012

Abstract

It has been our observation that in many developing jurisdictions, competition agencies intervene in what are essentially regulatory or contracting matters or even law enforcement matters. Sometimes this is done of their own volition, but it is frequently in response to requests from regulators or other enforcement agencies, possibly due to shortcomings in these agencies’ own enforcement capabilities, We call this tendency of competition enforcers in developing jurisdictions to shoulder responsibilities beyond antitrust enforcement the “Robin Hood Syndrome.” While the lines between antitrust, regulation and contract law may not always be definitively drawn, and all competition agencies struggle with the appropriate boundaries, we argue that competition enforcers in newer agencies should be particularly mindful of the distinction. Undertaking such roles can undermine good competition enforcement as well as hinder the development of an effective regulatory regime and undermine the rule of law. Competition agencies have a vital role to play in advancing social welfare in developing economies by focusing on enforcing competition law and promoting market-oriented reforms. To avoid undermining their effectiveness, they should stick to this role, and avoid pressures or temptations to engage in activities beyond their core competencies.

Keywords: Antitrust, competition law, development, regulation, vertical contracting

JEL Classification: K21, L40, D23, O10, L51

Suggested Citation

Abbott, Alden F. and Sacher, Seth B., Avoiding the 'Robin Hood Syndrome' in Developing Antitrust Jurisdictions (December 12, 2012). William E. Kovacic: An Antitrust Tribute – Liber Amicorum (Vol. I) (Charbit et al. eds., February 2013) . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2243614

Alden F. Abbott

Government of the United States of America - Federal Trade Commission ( email )

600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20580
United States

Seth B. Sacher (Contact Author)

Federal Trade Commission ( email )

600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20580
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
88
Rank
237,574
Abstract Views
806