The Multifaceted Nature Of Fairness In Competition Policy

By Michael Trebilcock & Francesco Ducci

In this article, we explore the multifaceted dimensions of fairness in competition policy. Parallel to the revival of free trade versus fair trade debates at the international level, fairness considerations are making their way back into the competition policy domain as a result of a widespread decrease in the levels of competition in various industries. The debate over fairness, however, is usually based on vague and unclear notions of fairness, which in the article we attempt to clarify by evaluating the various dimensions that may be pertinent to domestic markets: vertical fairness, horizontal fairness on the demand side, horizontal fairness on the supply side, and procedural fairness. We conclude by pointing to the parallelism between fairness debates in domestic competition policy and the free trade versus fair trade debate at the international level.