Edited by Ariel Ezrachi
Chapter 7: Greater international convergence and the behavioural antitrust gambit
Behavioural economics, the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company observed, ‘is now mainstream’. It is a staple in graduate economics programmes, business schools, and increasingly law schools. Best- selling books and business journals feature behavioural economics. Behavioural economics has led to subspecialties in the areas of: subjective well-being and happiness; the media, including demand-driven media bias; marketing; finance; criminal justice; sports; health care; political economy; institutional design; labour economics; industrial organisation; and of course antitrust. Behavioural economics is global, in that it is not associated with a particular university or locale. Behavioural economics is also timely. The economic crisis raises import- ant issues of market failure, weak regulation, moral hazard, and our lack of understanding about how many markets actually operate. In 2011, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (‘OECD’) noted how ‘the worst financial and economic crisis in our lifetime’ has prompted policy makers to ask: ‘Are our economic theories, our economic models, and our assumptions still valid?’ Organisations, including the OECD, the American Bar Association’s Section of Antitrust Law, Canada’s International Development Research Centre, the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, and the American Antitrust Institute8 are considering behavioural economics’ implications for antitrust policy. Competition authorities, including the United States Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission, and the United Kingdom’s Office of Fair Trading are all examining behavioural economics.
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