Beyond antitrust populism: Towards robust antitrust
Economic Affairs, 2020, vol. 40, issue 2, 237-258
The populist use of competition policies is on the rise again, associated with the growth of big‐tech companies in the era of digital platforms. This article sees antitrust populism as a re‐emerging force in the United States and Europe via greater politicisation of competition law enforcement. It addresses the basic tenets of antitrust populism in order to expose the fundamental problems that populist use of competition law entails. I argue for a rethink of antitrust policy on the intellectual foundations laid down by what Mark Pennington describes as ‘robust political economy’. We need greater regulatory humility and antitrust enforcement which takes both innovation and welfare seriously.
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