Eleanor Fox, New York University: Networking the world

1. Eleanor, you are a special person in the antitrust field. Around the world, no name is more recognized or respected than yours as an expert on international antitrust. How did you first get interested in antitrust law?

2. When you first started practicing law, there were few women in the profession. When you first became a law professor, there were few women in academia. Did you find it difficult, as a woman, to break into the profession? How would you measure the progress women have made in the antitrust field over the time you’ve been involved?

3. In addition to antitrust, you have been involved in civil rights issues. With antitrust’s increasing turn toward an economic efficiency paradigm, many in the field probably believe that antitrust has nothing to do with individual or civil rights. Do you see a connection between antitrust and civil rights?

4. In the U.S., the big story in antitrust over the last thirty or forty years has been the rise of the Chicago School. You have some significant differences with the Chicago School and its exclusive focus on a relatively narrow vision of economic efficiency. Do you feel that the tide of pro-Chicago sentiment has turned in the U.S., or is it entrenched for some time to come?

5. One arguable consequence of the Chicago School was that the U.S. lost its dominance as an exporter of antitrust ideas, since many developing countries weren’t ready to adopt an antitrust policy that seemed designed to do very little. The EU arguably filled the gap and became a much more important source of ideas for developing antitrust regimes like China, India, South Africa, and Brazil. Do you agree with that assessment? Does the U.S. still have good antitrust ideas or models (like private enforcement, for example) to export?

6. You are an amazing globetrotter. How did you come to make so many connections in the international antitrust arena? Did this happen by design or by chance?

7. One of the perpetual questions in transnational competition policy is whether the U.S. and EU are increasingly in sync or out of sync. Many commentators saw the GE/Honeywell affair as a sign of serious discord between the two sides of the Atlantic. You saw it as a marker of convergence. What’s your assessment a decade later? Are the U.S. and EU growing closer or drifting apart?

8. One of the areas of perceived divergence between the U.S. and EU is the treatment of unilateral conduct by dominant firms. Do you see prospects for convergence here? Might there be agency convergence and court divergence?

9. Europe and the U.S. often draw comparisons on questions of decentralization and federalism. One significant difference between the two is that individual states in the U.S. can pursue cases or investigations, as they did in Microsoft and Intel, even if the FTC or DOJ are investigating or litigating the same matter. In the EU, if DG Comp investigates or litigates a matter, Member State authorities have to sit on the sidelines. Which system do you prefer?

10. The 2008-09 financial crisis shook people’s faith in markets, not just in the U.S. and EU but around the world. What implications do you see for competition policy? If people lose faith in markets and turn toward regulatory solutions, does that mean that competition law becomes less relevant in governing economic activity?

11. Antitrust law is exploding around the world as huge global players like China, India, and Brazil have recently added or overhauled antitrust regimes. But competition law can mean very different things in different corners of the globe. What predictions would you make for the development of antitrust in BRICS and BRICS-like countries over the next decade? Will we see the emergence of a unified developing world competition law paradigm, or will norms and practices develop heterogeneously?

12. You have previously sounded skeptical notes about the possibilities of international antitrust institutions—say embedded in the WTO—developing in the foreseeable future. Do you see any emerging trends that could lead us in that direction sooner than you previously thought?

13. What advice would you give a young scholar looking to make his or her mark in competition law? Are there areas or topics that have been under-explored from an academic perspective?

Interview conducted by Dan Crane, University of Michigan Law School.

Since 1976 Professor, New York University School of Law 2009 Honorary Doctorate Degree, University of Paris-Dauphine, for work in global competition 1997-2000 Member, President Clinton’s International Competition Policy Advisory Committee (ICPAC) 1978-1979 Commissioner, President Carter’s Commission for Review of Antitrust Laws and Procedures 1970-76 Partner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett 1936 Born in Trenton, New Jersey, USA Eleanor, you are a special person in the antitrust field. Around the world, no name is more recognized or respected than yours as an expert on international antitrust. How did you first get interested in antitrust law? My story is serendipitous, with a Panglossian touch. I have to confess that I was adopted by antitrust. My first law firm job was at Simpson

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  • New York University
  • University of Michigan


Eleanor M. Fox, Daniel Crane, Eleanor Fox, New York University: Networking the world, December 2011, Concurrences Review N° 4-2011, Art. N° 39450,

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