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How Many Cheers for Antitrust's 100 Years?


  • Demsetz, Harold


This article describes the ambiguity inherent is U.S. antitrust policy, arguing that it is a necessary consequence of the true, but not commonly understood, task of antitrust policy. Competition is multidimensional in form and its different dimensions cannot be maximized together. Therefore, antitrust policy cannot maximize competition per se, but aims to achieve an efficient mix of competitive forms. Inadequate knowledge of the technical and preference tradeoffs involved guarantees that questions about the appropriate competitive mix will remain open to debate. The resulting policies, in the authors' opinion, merit one cheer out of a possible three. Copyright 1992 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Demsetz, Harold, 1992. "How Many Cheers for Antitrust's 100 Years?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(2), pages 207-217, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:30:y:1992:i:2:p:207-17

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Utton, 2000. "Fifty Years of U.K. Competition Policy," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 16(3), pages 267-285, May.
    2. ANDREW R. Dick, 1993. "Japanese Antitrust: Reconciling Theory And Evidence," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 11(2), pages 50-61, April.
    3. Nicola Giocoli, 2013. "Games judges don't play: predatory pricing and strategic reasoning in US antitrust," Supreme Court Economic Review, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 271-330.
    4. Miller, Tracy, 2021. "Evaluating Arguments for Antitrust Action against Tech Companies," Annals of Computational Economics, George Mason University, Mercatus Center, May.

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