The Chicago School’s Limited Influence on International Antitrust

By Anu Bradford (Columbia University), Adam S. Chilton & Filippo Maria Lancieri (University of Chicago)

Beginning in the 1950’s, a group of scholars primarily associated with the University of Chicago began to challenge many of the fundamental tenants of antitrust law. This movement — which became known as the Chicago School of Antitrust Analysis — profoundly altered the course of American antitrust scholarship, regulation, and enforcement. What is not known, however, is the degree to which Chicago School ideas influenced the antitrust regimes of other countries. By leveraging new datasets on antitrust laws and enforcement around the world, we empirically explore whether ideas embraced by the Chicago School diffused internationally. Our analysis illustrates that many ideas explicitly rejected by the Chicago School — like using antitrust law to promote goals beyond efficiency or regulate unilateral conduct — are common features of antitrust regimes in other countries. We also provide suggestive evidence that the influence of the antitrust revolution launched by the Chicago School has been more limited outside of the United States.

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