Trade Openness and Antitrust Law

Journal of Law and Economics (Forthcoming)

63 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2019

See all articles by Anu Bradford

Anu Bradford

Columbia Law School; Columbia University - Law School

Adam Chilton

University of Chicago - Law School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 17, 2018


Openness to international trade and adoption of antitrust laws can both curb anticompetitive behavior. But scholars have long debated the relationship between the two. Some argue that greater trade openness makes antitrust unnecessary, while others contend that antitrust laws are still needed to realize the benefits of trade liberalization. Data limitations have made this debate largely theoretical to date. We study the relationship between trade and antitrust empirically using new data on antitrust laws and enforcement activities. We find that trade openness and stringency of antitrust laws are positively correlated from 1950 to 2010 overall, but the positive correlation disappears in the early 1990s as a large number of new countries adopt antitrust laws. However, we find a positive correlation between trade openness and antitrust enforcement resources and activities for both early and late adopters of antitrust regimes during this period.

Keywords: Trade Law; Antitrust; Antitrust Law; Competition Law; Diffusion; Comparative Law

Suggested Citation

Bradford, Anu and Bradford, Anu and Chilton, Adam, Trade Openness and Antitrust Law (October 17, 2018). Journal of Law and Economics (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: or

Anu Bradford

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10009

Adam Chilton (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States


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