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Antitrust Law: Economic Theory and Common Law Evolution [Book Review]

14 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2006 Last revised: 2 Apr 2009

Reza Dibadj

University of San Francisco - School of Law


Professor Keith Hylton provides a timely discussion of the most important doctrines of modern antitrust. Underlying his discussion is the thesis that antitrust can perhaps be best understood through the lens of federal common law. This book review begins by discussing how Professor Hylton's book differs from other books in the field, what topics it covers, and who might profitably read the book. The bulk of the review provides a perspective on the book.

On the positive side, Hylton has written a lucid text that fruitfully analyzes antitrust from both a legal and a traditional economic perspective. The review's critique, however, is two-fold. First, while the book does initially lay out some of the limitations of the neoclassical economic paradigm, it ends up not paying sufficient attention to new research in economics that casts doubt on the plausibility of traditional Chicago School law and economics. Second, Professor Hylton ultimately does not take advantage of several opportunities to critique the limitations of the common law in shaping antitrust and thus suggest how competition law might develop in the future.

In the end, Antitrust Law is an extremely versatile, valuable and highly recommended book. It is an excellent text for readers who wish a cogent description of antitrust as an evolving form of common law, peppered with an insightful discussion of traditional law and economics. Those wishing sustained engagement with cutting-edge economics research or the articulation of a vision for the future of antitrust, however, will be left wanting more. Some readers might wish that Professor Hylton could offer a more critical perspective on neoclassical economics as well as on the limitations of the common law in setting competition policy. Doing so would have permitted him to address head on some of the most vibrant controversies facing antitrust today. Instead, he has preferred to weave a compelling narrative of antitrust's evolution.

Keywords: antitrust, law and economics, common law

JEL Classification: K21, L40

Suggested Citation

Dibadj, Reza, Antitrust Law: Economic Theory and Common Law Evolution [Book Review]. Antitrust Bulletin, Vol. 50, p. 223, 2005. Available at SSRN:

Reza Dibadj (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States
415-422-5253 (Phone)

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