Price Regulation in the Social Market Economy

34 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2017

See all articles by Niamh Dunne

Niamh Dunne

London School of Economics - Law School

Date Written: February 21, 2017


Establishing open and undistorted competition within the internal market is a primary goal of the EU legal framework. Price controls, by contrast, are among the clearest derogations from this overarching objective. Yet much price regulation continues to occur within the internal market. The treatment of such regulation thus raises challenging questions, both substantive and institutional, about the nature of economic governance in the context of the EU’s ‘highly competitive social market economy’. This article begins with a consideration of price regulation, both in economic terms and in relation to its place within the institutional and ideological structure of the EU. It then examines differing approaches seen in EU law: from a sceptical prohibitive approach, to a cautious yet more receptive permissive approach, to an essentially prescriptive approach incorporating price regulation into the fabric of the internal market. The aim is to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the challenges facing the pursuit of ‘open and undistorted competition’ within a modern social market economy.

Suggested Citation

Dunne, Niamh, Price Regulation in the Social Market Economy (February 21, 2017). LSE Legal Studies Working Paper No. 3/2017, Available at SSRN: or

Niamh Dunne (Contact Author)

London School of Economics - Law School ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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