Antitrust and Regulation in the EU and US

Competition Policy & Antitrust

Article Snapshot

Author(s)

Richard Gilbert, Douglas Ginsburg, Pierre Larouche, François Lévêque, David Newbery, Howard Shelanski, James Speta, John Temple Lang, Tommaso Valletti and Philip J. Weiser

Source

Howard Shelanski & Francois Leveque, eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2009

Summary

This book contains seven articles discussing the move from anticompetitive regulation to antitrust law in the US and EU.

Policy Relevance

The trend towards consolidating industries formally governed by sector-specific regulation under standard antitrust laws may be justified in some sectors, but international differences remain.

Main Points

  • Historically there have been two ways that different industries have been governed to prevent anticompetitive activity: antitrust law and sector-specific regulation.

    • Antitrust laws are generally applicable rules and laws preventing companies from taking unfair anticompetitive activity.
       
    • Sector-specific regulation is composed of a set of industry specific rules that also seek to prevent anticompetitive conduct, but do so by specifically setting out prohibited conduct within certain subsets of the national market.
       
  • Industries that have traditionally been controlled by sector-specific regulation include telecommunications, energy, and in some cases transportation, agriculture, and health care.  All other industries are typically controlled by antitrust laws.
     
  • Since the mid 1980’s, there has been a trend of converting industries traditionally controlled by sector-specific regulation over to the antitrust system.
     
  • The telecommunications industry is one that has been transitioning towards antitrust law regulation.  This transition is justified by the increased competition in the market as a result of new technology.
     
  • Differences currently exist between the ways that the US and the EU handle anticompetitive activity.  Some scholars claim that these differences are unfounded, but it is possible that they can be justified because of the differences between the laws and markets in the two countries.
     
  • The challenges of creating uniform antitrust regulation are particularly strong in the fields of telecommunications and electricity suppliers, because these industries do not conform to the standard business model.
     

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