This paper addresses the rationale for antitrust legislation. It is a striking fact that the legitimacy of antitrust law has been taken for granted inthe United States ever since the Sherman Act of 1890 and, until the advent of the so-called Chicago School, it was even taken for granted by conservativeAmerican economists. Europeans, on the other hand, have always been lukewarm about legal action against trusts and cartels and this attitude is found rightacross the political spectrum in most European countries. Nevertheless, in both the U.S.A. and Europe, the ultimate justification for antitrust law derives from economic doctrine regarding the beneficial effects of competition. But what exactly are these beneficial effects and how secure is the contention of economists that competition is always superior to monopoly? Surprisinglyenough, competition, that central concept of economics, is widely misunderstood by many economists, both as a market phenomenon and as an organizingprinciple of economic reasoning.
Review of Industrial Organization – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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