Getting Antitrust and History in Tune

Journal of Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, Forthcoming

99 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2022

See all articles by Brian R. Cheffins

Brian R. Cheffins

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: February 2, 2022


Antitrust is high on the reform agenda at present, associated with calls to “break up big tech.” Proponents of reform have invoked history with regularity in making their case. They say reform is essential to reverse the baleful influence of the Chicago School of antitrust, which, in their telling, disastrously and abruptly ended in the 1980s a “golden” era of beneficially lively antitrust enforcement. In fact, antitrust enforcement was, at best, uneven, from the early 20th century through to the end of the 1970s. As for the antitrust “counter-revolution” of the late 20th century, this was fostered as much by fears of foreign competition and skepticism of government regulation as Chicago School theorizing. The pattern helped to ensure that the counter-revolution was largely sustained through the opening decades of the 21st century. This article, in addition to getting antitrust and history in tune by drawing attention to the foregoing points, provides insights regarding antitrust’s future direction.

Keywords: antitrust, Chicago School, monopoly, oligopoly, foreign competition, deregulation

JEL Classification: K21, L12, L13, L40, L41, N42

Suggested Citation

Cheffins, Brian R., Getting Antitrust and History in Tune (February 2, 2022). Journal of Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Brian R. Cheffins (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

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European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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