ASCOLA Competition Law series
Edited by Josef Drexl, Warren S. Grimes, Clifford A. Jones, Rudolph J.R. Peritz and Edward T. Swaine
Chapter 3: Protecting Consumer Choice: Competition and Consumer Protection Law Together
Neil W. Averitt* INTRODUCTION 1 Another chapter in this volume has discussed the role of choice in antitrust, and has suggested that competition law should begin to more explicitly protect the non-price qualities of variety, choice, and innovation, as well as protecting competitive prices per se.1 This chapter concurs in that assessment, and will propose a larger context into which that suggestion will fit. It proposes that the concept of choice actually underlies both antitrust and consumer protection law. Viewing both of these bodies of law together in the larger, more inclusive perspective of ‘choice’ will lead to a number of enforcement advantages as well as to benefits for consumers. It will integrate the two bodies of law; confirm the validity of the choice perspective of antitrust; and from the new context it will suggest some particular legal principles of competition law and possible new areas of enforcement interest.2 The discussion that follows is divided into five principal sections: What * The author is a member of the planning staff at the US Federal Trade Commission. The views expressed here are the author’s own, and are not necessarily the views of the FTC or of any individual Commissioner. 1 See RH Lande, ‘Consumer Choice as the Best Way to Recenter the Mission of Competition Law’, Ch. 2, above. For a more elaborate treatment see NW Averitt and RH Lande, ‘Using the “Consumer Choice” Approach to Antitrust Law’ (2007) 74 Antitrust LJ 175, http://papers.ssrn.com/so13/papers. cfm?abstract_id=1121459. 2 For a...
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