Research Handbook on Austrian Law and Economics
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Research Handbook on Austrian Law and Economics

Edited by Todd J. Zywicki and Peter J. Boettke

The original contributions to the Research Handbook provide an introduction to the application of Austrian economics to law. The book begins with chapters on the methodology of law and economics. Further chapters discuss key concepts in Austrian economics – dynamic competitive processes, spontaneous order, subjective value, entrepreneurship, and the limited nature of individual knowledge – as they relate to topics in evolutionary law (social rules, self-governance, dispute resolution) and basic law (torts, antitrust, civil procedure, business and family law).
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Chapter 13: Antitrust and competition from a market-process perspective

Donald J. Boudreaux

Abstract

Austrian economics identifies three reasons, any one of which invalidates antitrust as a mechanism for ensuring competition. The first is the political economy realization that antitrust cannot be administered without political cronyism, which will blunt its effectiveness. The second is the problem of knowledge; no antitrust judge or regulator can know all the relevant facts for rendering a decision that improves the operation of markets. Either of these is fatal to the arguments for antitrust. This chapter will focus on the third objection: antitrust is premised on a flawed, static model of competition. By not recognizing that competition is a dynamic process involving innovation, antitrust actually thwarts competition, achieving the opposite of its intended effect.

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