Rewriting competition law from an economic perspective

Publication number: 65
Author: B. Baarsma

What is the goal of competition law? This varies depending on the perspective taken. From an economic perspective the goal is the protection of consumer welfare, while from a legal perspective the goal is the protection of competition. These perspectives differ, perhaps not so much in theory, but they do in practice. Two main causes are discussed. Firstly, from the legal point of view it is presently not possible to simultaneously consider the advantages and disadvantages of a merger or agreement and therefore the case in its entirety, and secondly, in recent years case law has led to the use of checklists, much to the detriment of common sense. Thus, we come to the question of how this juridization of the application of competition law can be stopped. Taking the economic perspective, this paper argues that competition law should be rewritten to better ensure welfare protection. It is shown how competition law could be rewritten to include the welfare criterion in the law.

This discussion paper is a continuation of the inaugural speech of Barbara Baarsma: Moeilijke marktwerking en meedogenloze mededinging.

This paper is also published in the European Competition Journal:
Baarsma, B.E. (2011). Rewriting European competition law from an economic perspective. European Competition Journal, 7, (3), pp. 559-585.

Category: discussion papers