The Political Economy of Regulation

I have completed several working papers that examine competition policy in comparative perspective.

 

In one paper, currently under review, I explain why anti-dominance rules are now more intensively enforced in the European Union compared to the United States, in contrast to the pattern at mid-century. Differences in economic structures, economic interests, the independence of political institutions, and the authority of economists cannot fully account for the divide. Using a statistical comparison of enforcement actions and judicial review, and a comparative case study of the American and European antitrust investigations of Google, provides evidence that, at least in the area of unilateral conduct, antitrust regulation is structured by different institutionalized conceptions of the nature of competition within capitalism, which are rooted in distinct schools of neoliberal thought.

 

In another paper, also under review, I examine the extent to which European integration has encouraged more adversarial regulatory approaches, as predicted by a number of scholars. Examining EU legislation and the pattern of public and private enforcement in the competition and securities fields, two policy areas where adversarial litigation is seen as most likely to develop, I find that the European Union has not encouraged the private enforcement of public law. EU legislation promotes administrative enforcement through vertically coordinated networks of independent regulatory agencies, a regulatory style closer to bureaucratic legalism. In practice, public enforcement through administrative action has grown much more rapidly than private enforcement, which remains infrequent in most European jurisdictions. The paper highlights how the diffusion of regulatory legalism in Europe has been mediated by the European Council’s veto power, the negative feedback effects of the U.S. experience with entrepreneurial litigation, and the inertia of European legal and bureaucratic traditions.