Competition Law Chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law
39 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2006
Date Written: February 12, 2006
The rapid pace of economic globalization and the dramatic turn toward economic competition as the central factor in public policy thinking would seem to augur well for comparative competition law scholarship. Together, they have brought a wave of new antitrust statutes and increased the perceived importance of existing competition laws. Moreover, economic globalization brings those laws into increasingly frequent and direct contact and sometimes confrontation.
Yet comparative analysis in this area has seldom gone beyond pure description to provide analytical insights into such issues. With notable exceptions, scholarship in the area remains limited, superficial, and often distorted. This essay examines where such scholarship is, why it is not elsewhere, and how it might be developed to respond more effectively to the challenges of globalization. It looks first at the current state of the literature - what has been and is being written? Which subjects are treated from which angles and subject to what kinds of influences. I then identify some of the forces that have created this literature and that are at work today. Finally, I envision a path for comparative antitrust law scholarship that may allow it to realize more fully its potential value and respond more effectively to the challenges of economic globalization.
Three main themes run through this essay. One is that US law dominates the world of comparative competition law scholarship. It provides the background that frames such scholarship, and it thereby colors and shapes it as well. A second, and related, theme is that the centrality of US law and experience divides the writing in the area and often distorts it. This dominance generates two fundamentally different perspectives on competition law. In one, US writers look out at the world and say "follow us." In the other, non-US writers ask, "How do we assess US experience and how do we respond to US power and pressure?" The third thread that runs through this chapter identifies the potential impact of economic globalization on the agenda of comparative competition law and the opportunities it creates for writers in that area to contribute to creating a sounder policy framework for transnational markets.
Keywords: Competition Law, Globalization, Comparative Law, International Law, Transnational Markets
JEL Classification: K21, L4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation