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Economic Theory and Competition Law

Economic Theory and Competition Law

ASCOLA Competition Law series

Edited by Josef Drexl, Laurence Idot and Joël Monéger

The context for this book is the increasingly complex relationship between economic theory and competition law which gives rise to lively political and academic debate on the direction competition law should take in a more global and innovation-oriented market place.

Chapter 15: A Brief Overview of Some Conflicts between Economic Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Administrative or Judicial Process in Competition Law

Antoine Louvaris

Subjects: economics and finance, competition policy, law and economics, law - academic, competition and antitrust law, law and economics


15. A brief overview of some conflicts between economic efficiency and effectiveness of the administrative or judicial process in competition law Antoine Louvaris* 1 PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS Economic efficiency is a complex notion and its crowning as the linchpin of competition law is controversial. Nonetheless, it is possible to adopt a simple, but sufficiently operational, approach to economic efficiency for the purpose of this chapter. ‘In the context of industrial organization economics and competition law and policy, it relates to the most effective manner of utilizing scarce resources.’1 To suggest that competition law aims at economic efficiency should logically imply, to put it bluntly, that only practices that reduce the well-being of consumers should be forbidden, without prejudice to focal and absolute per se prohibitions as the basis for condemning cartels, ‘the supreme evil of antitrust’.2 Positive competition law is far from reaching this conclusion, supposing that it should. Undoubtedly, there is still an increasing propensity to promote economic efficiency in the competition law of prominent jurisdictions, such as the EC, at least since the Guidelines on Vertical Restraints3 and, later on, since the * Professor of Public Law at the University of Paris Dauphine. 1 OECD, ‘Glossary of Industrial Organisation Economics and Competition Law’, (accessed 31 January 2008), p 41. 2 Verizon Communications Inc v Law Offices of Curtis V Trinko LLP 540 US 398, 408 (2004). 3 See Commission Notice – Guidelines on vertical restraints, 13 October 2000, [2000...

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