Normative Theory of Competition Law

Renato Nazzini

in The Foundations of European Union Competition Law

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199226153
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191730856 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in European Law

Normative Theory of Competition Law

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This chapter examines potential objectives of competition law. It discusses the non-welfare objectives that have been assigned to competition law in the literature and the law and argues that none of them is capable of being an objective of competition law by itself. From this analysis, the need for a welfare objective emerges. The various concepts of efficiency are relative to the achievement of a given measure of welfare and, while relevant, cannot be objectives of competition law in themselves. Social or consumer welfare is then discussed and the superiority of long-term social welfare over consumer welfare is demonstrated. The relevance of consumer welfare is that consumer harm can, in certain circumstances, be a test for anti-competitive behaviour which achieves the objective of maximizing long-term social welfare. The concepts of economic freedom and fairness can also be properly understood only in the light of this objective.

Keywords: non-welfare objectives; efficiency; social welfare; consumer welfare

Chapter.  21045 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: EU Law

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