Competition Law and Economics
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Competition Law and Economics

Advances in Competition Policy Enforcement in the EU and North America

Edited by Abel M. Mateus and Teresa Moreira

Competition policy is at a crossroads on both sides of the Atlantic. In this insightful book, judges, enforcers and academics in law and economics look at the consensus built so far and clarify controversies surrounding the issue.
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Chapter 21: Antitrust Policy and Industrial Policy: A View from the U.S.

Lawrence J. White


Lawrence J. White1 I. INTRODUCTION Antitrust policy and industrial policy are almost always in an uneasy condition of coexistence with each other. This is especially true for Europe, where a longer and stronger tradition of formal state intervention in the economy and of a distrust of markets has crystallized into various forms of ‘industrial policy’, often expressed as the support and protection of ‘national champions’.2 Antitrust – and especially antitrust with real enforcement – has a more recent existence in Europe. By contrast, in the United States, the tradition of antitrust extends back for over a century, and the faith in markets is stronger. It was no accident that the deregulation movement that reduced governmental regulation that had impeded competition in transportation, telecommunications, financial, and energy markets first began in the U.S. in the 1970s3 and only subsequently spread to Europe. The U.S. has never embraced a formal ‘industrial policy’, and the only time that such an embrace was seriously debated was in the late 1970s and the 1980s.4 This was a period when U.S. economic growth had slowed appreciably from the relatively rapid growth that had characterized the postwar 1946–1973 era, and there were widespread fears that a primary reliance on markets would not be sufficient to revive a more vigorous growth environment for the U.S. economy. It was also a period when the Japanese model – embodying large private enter- 1 During 1982–1983 the author was the Chief Economist of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice....

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