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Does Antitrust Policy Promote Market Performance & Competitiveness?

Does Antitrust Policy Promote Market Performance and Competitiveness? is a new project of the Columbia Global Policy Initiative led by Columbia University Professors Anu Bradford and Sharyn O’Halloran.

Over the past three decades, antitrust laws have proliferated across the globe. International institutions and governments have promoted antitrust policy as an important regulatory tool to enhance competitiveness and market performance. However, there is scant empirical evidence that these policies actually work and that their adoption promotes an efficient use of scarce public resources. This project seeks to provide a solid theoretical and empirical foundation for this policy question. The project will develop a novel dataset on antitrust laws and enforcement across time and jurisdictions. The study offers a major contribution to policymakers who need to understand the benefits of these laws, and the elements of the laws or enforcement actions that have the greatest impact on competitiveness. The project will also test how optimal design of antitrust policy depends on variables, such as a country’s level of development and existing governance infrastructure.

Policy Goals

  • Help emerging antitrust regimes set priorities in building these regimes and provide new insights for more established jurisdictions on the effects of their laws and enforcement efforts
  • Allow international institutions (World Bank, IMF, OECD, UNCTAD, the EU, and others) and networks (International Competition Network), to reflect and, if needed, retool their long standing policy advice to governments
  • Help private market actors—the targets of antitrust laws—to better understand how these laws shape market outcomes, directly affecting the economic environments in which they operate.
  • Make private actors better able to assess the effects of different regulatory regimes on their ability to enter and penetrate foreign markets and to adjust their investments and business strategies accordingly

Support from the National Science Foundation and the Columbia Global Policy Initiative

North America


Anu Bradford, Columbia Law School
Henry L. Moses Professor of Law and International Organization
George Blumenthal Professor; Professor, International and Public Affairs
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