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From the Editor: Autumn 2007

 |  November 5, 2007

Richard Schmalensee, Nov 05, 2007

Our Autumn 2007 issue of Competition Policy International features a truly international collection of antitrust experts from the Asia-Pacific region, the European Union, and the United States. We begin with a report from the United States, where the Supreme Court rendered four antitrust decisions during the 2006-2007 Term. Like the other nine antitrust decisions issued since 1997, the Court ruled for the defendants and for the proposition that the scope of the antitrust laws should be limited in some way. After Leah Brannon and Douglas Ginsburg place the decisions in the context of the last forty years of Supreme Court antitrust jurisprudence, Joshua Wright tells us why the decisions reflect further wins for the Chicago School while Einer Elhauge explains why they are a triumph for the Harvard School. This term´s Supreme Court decisions widened the divergence between the practice of competition policy in the European Community and the United States. Dennis Carlton and Michael Salinger chief economists until recently at the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission discussed this issue at the February 2007 Antitrust Forum hosted by the Jevons Institute for Competition Law and Economics at the University College London. A (lightly edited) transcript of their remarks appears next. For better or for worse, the rest of the world seems to be modeling their competition laws and competition authorities on those in the European Community. Over 100 countries have established competition laws, a number that has increased two-fold since 1990 as more developing countries move towards market economies. In addition, countries that have had antitrust laws on the books have started enforcing those laws more aggressively in recent years. The largest of these countries, China, passed its Antimonopoly Law in August 2007, putting more teeth into existing merger, cartel, and abuse of dominance provisions. CPI´s Symposium on Antitrust in Asia includes survey articles on national regimes by Burton Ong on Singapore, Mark Williams on Hong Kong (which is considering a law), Sang-Seung Yi and Youngjin Jung on Korea, and Xinzhu Zhang and Vanessa Yanhua Zhang on China. Russell Pittman then revisits the consumer welfare debate from our last issue. He notes that the transfers from customers to the merged firm that resultfrom horizontal mergers that increase market power may in fact be harmful to economic welfare, rather than neutral as generally understood by neoclassical economists. Thus, he argues for using a consumer surplus standard in evaluating mergers, seeking to block those mergers that are likely to result in price increases to customers. We conclude with our regular features. Kelyn Bacon reviews the European Court of Justice´s important opinion in British Airways v. Commission which affirmed the sharp distinction between the EC and U.S. approach on unilateral conduct. John Kallaugher reviews the pioneering case book, Global Competition Law and Economics, by Einer Elhauge and Damien Geradin, which unifies the treatment of U.S. and EC cases in a single (albeit quite large) volume. Finally, Keith Hylton introduces this issue´s classic: Aaron Director and Edward Levi´s enormously influential 1956 article that challenged many of the critical assumptions on U.S. antitrust case law and laid the foundations for the subsequent antitrust revolution in the U.S. courts (though readers should see Elhauge´s article for a different view). On behalf of the journal´s readers and its editorial team, I am delighted to extend my thanks to all the contributors of this issue. Richard Schmalensee Editor-in-Chief

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