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Ideas, interests and institutions in the globalising economy: the evolution and internationalisation of antitrust

Poli, Eleonora (2013). Ideas, interests and institutions in the globalising economy: the evolution and internationalisation of antitrust. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


The aim of this thesis is to generate an understanding of antitrust and its evolution in the context of the globalising economy of the 20th and early 21st centuries. I do this by focusing on the role of economic ideas and more specifically, conceptual approaches to competition policy, in the international context. Existing legal and economic studies have mainly framed antitrust as the disciplinary tool regulating market competition according to criteria of efficiency and/or economic welfare. So far, few researchers have addressed the enforcement of policies - and specifically, of market competition regulations, without resorting to pure rational-choice or reflectivist arguments. This thesis aims to fill this gap by examining the ways in which abstract economic concepts and theories on the one hand and material interests on the other, by influencing political actors’ understanding of reality, have shaped the decision-making process behind specific antitrust policies and laws. My analysis develops on the basis of what I call a pan-institutional methodology, a synthesis of an institutional understanding of antitrust and sociological theories of isomorphism. Pan-institutionalism is employed here to examine the development of antitrust policies in the US, Europe and Japan during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the oil crises of the 1970s and the current recession. My study reveals that the corpus of ideas and institutions of antitrust of the 20th and early 21st century can be identified as Harvard, Chicago and Post-Chicago paradigms of competition policy. To a degree, these US-originated approaches have been internalised by Europe and Japan through formal and informal institutions, and adapted in light of major economic crises. At the same time however, the reliance of Europe and Japan on their traditional understanding of market practices has prevented a total harmonisation of their antitrust policies with the dominant American ones.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
School of Policy & Global Affairs > School of Policy & Global Affairs Doctoral Theses
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