Now also available as
Although it is commonly assumed that consumers benefit from the application of
competition law, this is not necessarily always the case. Economic efficiency
is paramount; thus, competition law in Europe and antitrust law in the United
States are designed primarily to protect business competitors (and in Europe
to promote market integration), and it is only incidentally that such law may
also serve to protect consumers.
That is the essential starting point of this penetrating critique. The author
explores the extent to which US antitrust law and EC competition law
adequately safeguard consumer interests. Specifically, he shows how the two
jurisdictions have gone about evaluating collusive practices, abusive conduct
by dominant firms and merger activity, and how the policies thus formed have
impacted upon the promotion of consumer interests. He argues that unless
consumer interests are directly and specifically addressed in the assessment
process, maximization of consumer welfare is not sufficiently achieved.
Using rigorous analysis he develops legal arguments that can accomplish such
goals as the following:
replace the economic theory of ‘consumer welfare’ with a principle of consumer
build consumer benefits into specific areas of competition policy;
assess competition cases so that income distribution effects are more
beneficial to consumers; and
control mergers in such a way that efficiencies are passed directly to
The author argues that, in the last analysis, the promotion of consumer
well-being should be the sole or at least the primary goal of any antitrust
Lawyers and scholars interested in the application and development and reform
of competition law and policy will welcome this book. They will find not only
a fresh approach to interpretation and practice in their field – comparing and
contrasting two major systems of competition law – but also an extremely lucid
analysis of the various economic arguments used to highlight the consumer
welfare enhancing or welfare reducing effects of business practices.
Preface. Table of Cases. Table of Legislation. List of Abbreviations. 1.
The Objectives of Competition Policy and the Consumer Interest. 2.
Goals Underlying US Antitrust Law. 3. Goals Underlying EC Competition
Law. 4. Collusive Practices and Consumer Interests. 5. The Legal
Exception in Article 81 EC and the Consumer Interest. 6. Abusive
Pricing and Consumer Interests. 7. Abusive Non-Pricing Practices and
Consumer Interests. 8. Merger Control and Consumer Interests. 9.
Efficiency Claims in US Merger Control – Safeguarding the Consumer Interest.
10. Consumer Interests under the EC Merger Control Regime. 11. The
Way Forward. Bibliography. Index.