ASCOLA Competition Law series
Edited by Josef Drexl and Fabiana Di Porto
Chapter 1: The regulatory breakthrough of competition law: definitions and worries
Many antitrust scholars today note the great change that competition law is undergoing. Some criticize the law’s resemblance to economic regulation; others register with alarm its new regulatory nature. Nevertheless, there is room to argue that the terms ‘competition law’ and ‘economic regulation’ are simple labels relating to wavering ideals and a dynamic maze of diverse and overlapping phenomena. Indeed, if one maintains that current competition law is taking the shape of a piece of economic regulation and intends to support criticism of this transformation, one should: (i) refer to some specific forms of economic regulation and competition law, so as to identify the many contours along which they can overlap or differentiate; (ii) verify whether, and how, this multi-dimensional metamorphosis is taking hold in competition law; and (iii) indicate what competition law loses _ or is assumed to lose _ because of the regulatory makeover it is purportedly undergoing. The chapter accomplishes these three goals without neglecting some critical thoughts about the idea that, unlike economic regulation, competition law is (or could be) a matter of pure (economic) technique, totally detached from value choices and political decisions.