Federalism In Antitrust

Competition Policy and Antitrust

Article Snapshot


Robert W. Hahn and Anne Layne-Farrar


Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 23, 1999; AEI-Brooking Joint Center Working Paper No. 02-09, 2002


This paper asks what role the state should play in national competition policy.

Policy Relevance

The States' role in national competition policy should be limited, so that local interests do not sway these policies to benefit themselves at national expense.

Main Points

  • States best represent consumers and firms within their borders, but not consumers nationally.


  • In the antitrust suit against Microsoft, the states’  involvement was clearly motivated by lobbying from Microsoft’s competitors. The states made the suit more long, complicated, confusing, and expensive.


  • National antitrust cases involve difficult economic issues and the states lack the expertise to perform this analysis.


  • Nations, like individual states, could use competition policy to pass costs to consumers in other countries, but global competition policy is not practicable for now. 

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