Legal and Economic Perspectives
New Horizons in Competition Law and Economics series
Edited by François Lévêque and Howard Shelanski
: balancing antitrust and regulation François Lévêque and Howard Shelanski For most of the past century there has been a dichotomy across industrial sectors between those industries governed primarily by general competition policy – antitrust – and those governed primarily by sector-specific rules – regulation. In several sectors of the economy, notably telecommunications and energy but in some cases also including transportation, agriculture, and health care, regulation has been dominant, even if not always exclusive of general antitrust enforcement. The telecommunications sector in the United States is an example: AT&T’s private monopoly was governed principally by a network of regulations imposed by individual state public utility commissions and by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); but AT&T’s monopoly was not immune from prosecution under the US antitrust laws for anticompetitive conduct. Indeed, it was antitrust prosecution that ultimately led to the break-up of AT&T in 1984. Over the past 20 years, several traditionally regulated economic sectors have been moving, to varying degrees, to competition. The past decade, for example, has seen substantial liberalization in both telecommunications and electricity generation. As this transition toward competition has progressed, the traditional balance of regulation versus antitrust comes into question. To what extent is sector-specific regulation still warranted as monopoly power erodes? Is antitrust law in a given jurisdiction up to the task of protecting consumers and promoting competition? The chapters in this volume address various aspects of the evolving balance between antitrust and regulation in the European Union and the United States....