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When Economics Met Antitrust: The Second Chicago School and the Economization of Antitrust Law




We interrogate the legal and economic history to analyse the process by which the Chicago School of Antitrust emerged in the 1950s and became dominant in the United States. They show that the extent to which economic objectives and theoretical views shaped the inception of antitrust law. After establishing the minor influence of economics in the promulgation of U.S. competition law, they highlight U.S. economists’ caution toward antitrust until the Second New Deal and analyse the process by which the Chicago School developed a general and coherent framework for competition policy. They rely mainly on the seminal and programmatic work of Director and Levi (1956) and trace how this theoretical paradigm became collective—that is, the “economization” process in U.S. antitrust. Finally, the authors discuss the implications and possible pitfalls of such a conversion to economics-led antitrust enforcement.
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  • Bougette, Patrice & Deschamps, Marc & Marty, Frédéric, 2015. "When Economics Met Antitrust: The Second Chicago School and the Economization of Antitrust Law," Enterprise & Society, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 313-353, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:entsoc:v:16:y:2015:i:02:p:313-353_00

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Patrice Bougette & Frédéric Marty & Julien Pillot & Patrice Reis, 2012. "Exclusivity in High-Tech Industries: Evidence from the French Case," Post-Print halshs-00691836, HAL.
    2. Einer Elhauge, 2007. "Harvard, Not Chicago: Which Antitrust School Drives Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decisions?," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 3.
    3. Nabila Arfaoui, 2014. "Eco-innovation and Regulatory Push/Pull Effect in the Case of REACH Regulation: Empirical Evidence from Survey Data," GREDEG Working Papers 2014-19, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, revised Dec 2015.
    4. Miscamble, Wilson D., 1982. "Thurman Arnold Goes to Washington: A Look at Antitrust Policy in the Later New Deal," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(01), pages 1-15, March.
    5. Nicola Giocoli, 2012. "Crossed destinies: law and economics meets the history of economic thought," History of Economic Ideas, Fabrizio Serra Editore, Pisa - Roma, vol. 20(3), pages 15-24.
    6. Gressley, Gene M., 1964. "Thurman Arnold, Antitrust, and the New Deal," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(02), pages 214-231, June.
    7. Nicola Giocoli, 2015. "Old lady charm: explaining the persistent appeal of Chicago antitrust," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 96-122, March.
    8. William E. Kovacic & Carl Shapiro, 2000. "Antitrust Policy: A Century of Economic and Legal Thinking," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 43-60, Winter.
    9. Stephen Breyer, 2009. "Economic Reasoning and Judicial Review," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(535), pages 123-135, February.
    10. DiLorenzo, Thomas J & High, Jack C, 1988. "Antitrust and Competition, Historically Considered," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(3), pages 423-435, July.
    11. Giocoli, Nicola, 2008. "Competition vs. property rights: American antitrust law, the Freiburg School and the early years of European competition policy," MPRA Paper 33807, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bougette, Patrice & Budzinski, Oliver & Marty, Frédéric, 2017. "Exploitative abuse and abuse of economic dependence: What can we learn from the industrial organization approach?," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 111, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General


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