Competition Policy: Between Economic Objectives and Social Redistribution

Title: Competition Policy: Between Economic Objectives and Social Redistribution
Issue: Vol. 5, No 2a, 2012
Published date: 20-07-2012 (print) / 20-07-2012 (online)
Journal: Economics & Sociology
ISSN: 2071-789X, eISSN: 2306-3459
Authors: Radu Musetescu
Keywords: competition policy, social redistribution, public policy
DOI: 10.14254/2071-789X.2012/5-2a/9
Language: English
Pages: 115-124 (10)
JEL classification: D41, K21, L11, Z18

The goals of competition policy have been long debated among economists, legal practitioners and policy makers. While the vast majority of commentators argue that the fundamental reason in the adoption and enforcement of competition law has been historically an economic one, we argue that even from its start, in nineteenth century United States of America, antitrust law has had the primary goal of social redistribution. Competition policy remains even today a public policy with sometimes implicit political objectives that could not ignore, to say the least, social effects. The protection of small producers against big producers or of consumers against producers is, in fact, a part of a social policy that is underlying the core logic of competition policy. As a public policy, social redistribution always comes at the cost of economic efficiency. We attempt to explore the potential loss in economic efficiency by the operation of competition policy. We argue that the core defining objective of competition policy is social redistribution.