- Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by John Duns, Arlen Duke and Brendan Sweeney
In recent years there has been increasing global recognition of the importance and significance of competition law to business and commercial conduct. Over 120 jurisdictions have now adopted a system of competition law with an increasing number of others currently in the process of developing some form of competition law framework. Many of these jurisdictions seek to regulate anti-competitive behaviour for the reason that competition is primarily intended to increase a market’s allocative, productive and dynamic efficiencies, thereby increasing innovation, offering consumers better prices, services and choices and improving economic welfare. Others do so at the behest of international organizations (such as the World Bank) or large powerful industrialized nations. Whichever reason applies, most of these competition law regimes share common characteristics and features, including prohibitions on certain types of behaviour such as horizontal agreements between firms (for example, cartels aimed at market sharing, price fixing, limiting production and collusive tendering), vertical restraints between firms operating at different levels of the market and excessive aggregation of market power. However, there are many economic, social, cultural and political differences between these jurisdictions, making it difficult to reconcile the benefits of removing hindrances to competition with the need for a set of ‘global’ competition laws and policies. In addition, the uncertainty of how competition law should apply across jurisdictions remains the subject of debate.
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