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The Antitrust Goal(s): Is There a Pattern?

 |  July 21, 2016

Posted by Social Science Research Network

The Antitrust Goal(s): Is There a Pattern?

Marianela López-Galdos (George Washington University)

Abstract: This paper presents a retrospective analysis of the evolution of antitrust goals and its relation to competition systems through the existing case law. The positive and analytical perspective adopted through this study seeks to respond to the following question: Is there a pattern in international comparative antitrust enforcement that reveals a shift from pluralistic goal-structure enforcement towards economic efficiency and consumer welfare-structure enforcement?

There are currently more than one hundred and fifteen competition systems worldwide that have incorporated an agency responsible for the enforcement of competition policy. While each competition system may have individual traits, there are several shared characteristics, trends and dynamics across systems. Many competition systems have been adopted in their respective jurisdictions after post-conflict periods, notably in the post-cold war era during the 90’s. The implementation of competition policies is seen as a necessary tool to establish democratic regimes. Each of these competition systems pursues its goals depending upon the socio-economic and political context in which are embedded. However, eventually, it might be observed that consumer welfare prevails over other goals. As democracies consolidate the other goals are shifted to other spheres other than competition policy that focuses on consumer welfare.