Recent Developments in China, the US and Europe
Edited by Michael Faure and Xinzhu Zhang
Chapter 2: The Uneasy Case for Competition Law and Regulation as Decisive Factors in Development: Some Lessons for China
Thomas S. Ulen1 The topic of this chapter is the role that competition law and regulation might play in economic development generally and in the case of China specifically. This is a topic that has not elicited much attention among economics scholars and law and economics scholars who study development issues.2 And that is surprising – for two reasons. First, the developed economies pay a great deal of attention to competition law and regulation. Indeed, in the past 30 years or so deregulation of regulated industries and the demise of competition law have been two of the most remarked upon economic policy changes. Current policy debates in the United States focus on related matters, such as whether, and, if so, how to regulate sophisticated financial instruments, how to stimulate competition in health-care and insurance markets, and whether the merger guidelines, revised in the early 1990s, need to be abandoned or rewritten in light of new realities. Second, it is surprising that competition law and regulation have not figured in the literature on economic growth and development because of the great interest that has recently been shown in the role that law (in the procedural, substantive, and broad ‘rule of law’ senses) might play in fostering economic growth in the developing countries. So, this is a welcome and overdue opportunity to think about the role of competition law and regulation in economic growth. I will approach this issue from a general point of view and then from the particular view of Chinese...
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