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EU Competition Policy Revisited: Economic Doctrines Within European Political Work


  • Matthieu MONTALBAN (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113)
  • Sigfrido RAMIREZ-PEREZ (Università Bocconi)
  • Andy SMITH (Centre Emile Durkheim - IEP-Bordeaux)


European Union competition policy is often described as neoliberal, without this leading to more investigation. This paper highlights how the European Competition policy doctrine has been shaped, how the ordoliberal movement and the Chicago school ideas have been implemented and supported by the political work of some key actors. We show that, contrary to what is sometimes said in literature, ordoliberal actors were neither hegemonic nor leaders between Rome Treaty and the eighties, even if some neoliberal principles were introduced in antitrust law. These laws are much more a compromise between French and German representatives, and between neo-mercantilists and ordoliberals. However, things have dramatically changed since the eighties, when both (1) new political work from members of the Commission introduced in the European competition policy elements of Chicago School doctrine to complete the European market and (2) some decisions from the ECJ clarified the doctrine of EU Competition law. Nowadays, European competition policy is a mix between an ordoliberal spirit and some Chicago School doctrinal elements.

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  • Matthieu MONTALBAN (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113) & Sigfrido RAMIREZ-PEREZ (Università Bocconi) & Andy SMITH (Centre Emile Durkheim - IEP-Bordeaux), 2011. "EU Competition Policy Revisited: Economic Doctrines Within European Political Work," Cahiers du GREThA 2011-33, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  • Handle: RePEc:grt:wpegrt:2011-33

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthieu Montalban, 2008. "Shareholder value, political work and globalization in pharmaceutical industry," Post-Print hal-00249960, HAL.
    2. Marburg, Theodore F., 1964. "Government and Business in Germany: Public Policy toward Cartels," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(01), pages 78-101, March.
    3. Streeck, Wolfgang & Thelen, Kathleen (ed.), 2005. "Beyond Continuity: Institutional Change in Advanced Political Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199280469.
    4. Heike Schweitzer, 2007. "Parallels and Differences in the Attitudes towards Single-Firm Conduct: What are the Reasons? The History, Interpretation and Underlying Principles of Sec. 2 Sherman Act and Art. 82 EC," EUI-LAW Working Papers 32, European University Institute (EUI), Department of Law.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:ejlwec:v:44:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10657-014-9459-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Laurent Warlouzet, 2016. "The Centralization of EU Competition Policy: Historical Institutionalist Dynamics from Cartel Monitoring to Merger Control (1956–91)," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 725-741, May.

    More about this item


    competition; policy; European Union; neoliberalism; ordoliberalism; political work;

    JEL classification:

    • L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation

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