Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Larry White of NYU's Department of Economics gives us a good sense of the tension that antitrust faces in the US with industrial policy in his paper Antitrust Policy and Industrial Policy: A View from the U.S.
ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the tensions between antitrust policy and industrial policy from a U.S. perspective. In the late 1970s and the 1980s, in the wake of the slowdown of the U.S. economy and the apparent ascendancy of the Japanese economy, the pluses and minuses of a formal industrial policy were debated in the U.S.; but there was never an explicit adoption of anything that had the appearance of a formal industrial policy. Nevertheless, there is a long tradition of governmental intervention in the U.S. that is at odds with the spirit and letter of antitrust policy's pursuit of more competitive and efficient markets.
After offering definitions of antitrust and of industrial policy, this paper offers details on the types of governmental intervention that are at odds with antitrust. It then provides some reflections on the reasons for these tensions and conflicts.