Anmerkungen zum Wissensproblem in der Wettbewerbspolitik (Implications of the Knowledge Problem for Competition Law and Policy)
30 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2023
Date Written: 2023
The paper aims to take a fresh look at the implications of the analysis of market processes developed by scholars from the Austrian School of Economics (“Österreichische Schule”). Special attention is paid to the works of F. A. von Hayek, Israel M. Kirzner and, of particular importance for the German context, Erich Hoppmann. It is shown that the Austrian market process theory has profound implications for the design of competition law and policy including the insight into the limitations of available knowledge, the so-called knowledge problem (“Wissensproblem”). Knowledge is widely dispersed among economic agents and, moreover, is typically discovered only in the process of competition. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to use as much of this dispersed knowledge as possible in competition law and policy. Two contemporary policy proposals are analysed in this light, namely a special procedure in order to account for efficiency gains of mergers (“efficiency defense”) and the comprehensive ex-ante regulation of all network industries by a common regulator. Moreover, competition law enforcement can itself be conceived of as a discovery procedure. It can, thus, be shown how the insights gained by Austrian Economics can be utilised for practical policy instead of resorting to the radical proposals put forward by Austrian economists themselves.
Note: Downloadable document is in German.
Keywords: Austrian School of Economics, F. A. von Hayek, Israel M. Kirzner, Erich Hoppmann, competition, competition law, market process theory, knowledge problem, efficiency defense, ex-ante regulation, discovery procedure
JEL Classification: B53, K21, L40, L50
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation