Antitrust law is an undertheorized field. The absence of a theory of what antitrust laws are about, and how, why, and when they do what they do is problematic. Broad claims for and against antitrust law reform are aired every time a legitimacy crisis hits the field. There is no testable way to validate or invalidate the claims made about antitrust law reform.
This intensive course seeks to lay the ground for the development of a more explicit theory of antitrust law. It studies antitrust laws’ principles of action (firm size, economic concentration, market power, etc.), function (rivalry, uncertainty), limits (error costs and division of labor), methods (facts and principles), metaphysics (a priori knowledge), epistemology (economics schools of thoughts), ontology (firm, market, coordinated and unilateral conduct, etc.), mobilization (private and public), legitimacy (expert and popular), norms (welfare, choice, justice), and remediation (prevention and restoration).
The course’s ambition is mostly descriptive. The point is to describe the anatomy, biology and behavior of our antitrust laws. The course assumes that it is intellectually useful to break down antitrust laws in ways that describe their structure and parts, mechanics and chemistry, and actual operation. In so doing, this intensive course seeks to show many versions of antitrust laws are possible, in ways far more diversified than the binary policy reform options often vindicated in the public conversation.
The focus is on US and EU antitrust laws.
- Nicolas Petit (European University Institute)