Title

The Positive Economics of Antitrust Policy: A Survey Article

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

International Review of Law and Economics

Volume

5

Publication Date

1985

First Page

39

Last Page

57

Abstract

Most discussions of antitrust assume that policy is formulated by a benign government. The conventional wisdom seems to be that the basic legislative framework of antitrust in the USA -the Sherman, Clayton and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Acts--as well as the relevant actors -the Congress, judiciary, antitrust bar, and enforcement agencies--serve the public interest, where by 'public interest' is meant some normative standard such as maximizing consumer welfare. Thus, whenever antitrust policy falls (and it does so quite often by many accounts), the failures are attributed to one or more of a number of correctable errors. Those criticizing antitrust policy accordingly lecture to government, calling upon the agencies to do a better job, for lawyers and judges to learn economic principles, or for incumbent policy-makers to be replaced with people better able to serve the public interest.

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