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Rôle et statut de l'économiste dans les affaires de concurrence. Leçons tirées de l'histoire américaine de l'industrie cimentière

Listed author(s):
  • Hervé Dumez
  • Alain Jeunemaître
Registered author(s):

    [fre] Rôle et statut de l'économiste dans les affaires de concurrence. Leçons tirées de l'histoire américaine de l'industrie cimentière L'analyse économique paraît avoir pénétré en profondeur la politique de con­currence (Europe) ou politique antitrust (États-Unis), au point que l'on a pu parler, pour exprimer cette emprise de l'analyse économique sur les instruments de décision touchante la concurrence, de « révolution » (Kwoka et White [1989] ; Dumez [1990]). Mais nombre de microéconomistes restent sceptiques. Une question se pose donc : l'analyse économique et l'économiste ont-ils réellement changé de statut, ou ce changement n'est-il qu'apparent, la pénétration des concepts économiques relevant plus d'une inflation rhétorique que d'une réalité décision­nelle ? Pour tenter de répondre à cette question, une démarche possible consiste à faire un détour historique et à s'appuyer sur des études de cas. Le secteur choisi est celui de l'industrie cimentière, et les cas sont ceux du système des points de parité (années 1930 et 1940) et de l'intégration verticale (années 1960). L'étude de ces cas illustre le statut des économistes et de leurs analyses il y a plusieurs dizaines d'années, et permet, par une remise en perspective, de jeter quelques éclairages sur la situation actuelle. [eng] The economist's role and status in antitrust cases: lessons from past experience in the US cement industry Economic authors have underlined the deep inroads of economic thinking into competition (EU) and antitrust (US) policies. Analysing the 70s and 80s, some have gone so far as to refer to this phenomenon as a "revolution" (Kwoka & White [1989] ; Dumez [1990]). Prima facie, they cannot be dismissed. The economics vocabulary and concepts, even when used as rhetoric (McCloskey [1994]), has pervaded in competition and antitrust literature. The various economic criteria set forward in guidance or consultative documents such as "greenpapers" in the eu or "guidelines" in the us is another example. Yet a fair deal of renowned microeconomists remain skeptical. They stress that microeconomics develops according to its own academic agenda, increasingly los­ing touch with the practicalities of the markets. The academic analytical tools become more and more complex and do not provide with straight answers. But what could really be said about the status of economics in the antitrust decision making process What can economists claim from their involvement in such matters To tackle these issues some distance with the current debates is necessary Only an historical approach will provide the means to put into perspective the impact of antitrust economic analysis and controversies on the dynamic of markets Also concentrating on particular industry will enable to avoid generalities The paper selects the cement industry as an empirical material The focus is made on two important topics in industrial economics pricing with the basing point system antitrust case which has arisen in the US in the late 30s and along the 40s Supreme Court decision 1948) and industry structure with the antitrust case on vertical integration which has run along the 60s Statement of general policy enforcement Federal Trade Commission 1967]) Classification JEL 031 042 612 634

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    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Revue économique.

    Volume (Year): 52 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 6 ()
    Pages: 1279-1299

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:reveco:reco_0035-2764_2001_num_52_6_410384
    Note: DOI:10.3406/reco.2001.410384
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