The role of economists in competition law enforcement – Review of an existential disorder

Since the emergence of market regulations and the creation of administrative and judicial institutions implementing those regulations, the role of economic science has been called into question in its application. The model built in the United States which closely involves economists in the decision-making process, has produced institutions responsible for the implementation of competition policy armed with legal departments of importance and influence. The same model has been adopted much later in Europe by the European Commission and the competition authorities of certain member states. This evolution has only been partly followed in France, where the economics department is more modest and less integrated in the decision making process and where it is only recently that the training of judges in economics laws has been reinforced and that experts in economic science have been integrated into specialist courts. This institutional resistance to the influence of economists into the decision making structure has had consequences on the penetration of economic reasoning in the application of competition law.

*This article is an automatic translation of the original article in French, provided here for your convenience. Read the original article. Introduction 1. Starting from the clear understanding that competition law, in order to correct the imperfections of the market economy, "involves economic concepts", a 2009 study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on the use of economic analysis in competition cases [1] traces the evolution of the debate on the role of economics in the application of the various components of competition law. It shows that, since the early twentieth century, the weight given to economic considerations has been a recurrent topic of discussion that has accompanied the creation and strengthening of competition [2]law enforcement

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  • French Constitutional Council (Paris)


Guy Canivet, The role of economists in competition law enforcement – Review of an existential disorder, May 2019, Concurrences N° 2-2019, Art. N° 90117,

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