Criminalizing Competition Law in the United States: An introduction to the origins of antitrust law

Criminal statutes of the United States that are aimed to enforce competition are of federal origin, and were originally designed and applied to regulate inter-state commerce, even if eventually the scope of these laws was broadened to all markets. This is one of the historical features that distinguish American antitrust law from continental European one. The whole origins of those statutes differ greatly from European law, and starts at the end of the 19th century. I will focus on three other distinguishing features of U.S. federal offenses related to competition and their origins. Having roots in both economic theory and common law, the novelty of creating a jail sentence to enforce competition was narrowed by the Supreme Court, which gave birth to a chain of events creating the

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  • University Aix-Marseille

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Sacha Raoult, Criminalizing Competition Law in the United States: An introduction to the origins of antitrust law, 31 May 2007, e-Competitions May 2007, Art. N° 13714

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