Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Abstract

Many people who pay attention to the rapid development of antitrust regimes across the globe hold two tenets in common. First, most of the relevant stakeholders would benefit if competition policy could be harmonized interjurisdictionally.' Second, and alas, this beneficial harmonization is unlikely to happen on a significant scale in the foreseeable future.2 To many, antitrust harmonization is thus a noble but utopian aspiration. I generally share both the former sentiment and the latter lament but both are far too general to be of much use without further specification. Uniformity of competition policy is valuable to be sure, but not all facets of harmonization are created equal. Some aspects of competition policy are in much greater need of harmonization than others. Also, there is good harmonization and bad harmonization. We are almost certainly better off with a system of antitrust heterogeneity with "better" and "worse" systems than we would be with a uniformly "bad" antitrust system-say, a worldwide regime of small-business protectionism. Against this backdrop, I aim to do three things in this essay. First, I identify areas where harmonization should be a priority and areas where harmonization is less important. Second, I articulate the preconditions necessary for meaningful harmonization. Finally, I discuss the feedback loops that can occur between three different aspects of harmonization-substance, procedure, and institutions-and suggest an incremental path forward.


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