The Political Economy of Competition Law in Asia
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The Political Economy of Competition Law in Asia

Edited by Mark Williams

This detailed book describes and analyses the essential political economy features that provide the backdrop to the competition policies and competition law regimes of several of the most important Asian economies.
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Chapter 12: Australia – a regulator’s perspective

Allan Fels


This chapter reviews some aspects of the political economy of Australian competition law, with an emphasis on developments since the 1990s. In the 1990s there was a sharp increase in the intensity of the enforcement of competition law. Not surprisingly, this created a clash between the regulator’s attempt to enforce the law more vigorously and the wishes of big business to be left free from the pressures of competition law. This chapter reviews the political economy of the issues involved from the regulator’s perspective, using a model that systematically analyses the tensions between the regulator’s desire for better outcomes, the wishes of elected governments, and the political environment generally for business not to be subject to such pressures. The analysis is extended by considering the political economy of two more recent developments in competition law in the last five years: the introduction of criminal sanctions for cartels and amendments to the prohibition on the misuse of market power.

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