Thursday, December 27, 2018

Out of Tune or Well Tempered? How Competition Agencies Direct the Orchestrating State

Herman Lelieveldt, University College Roosevelt/Utrecht University asks Out of Tune or Well Tempered? How Competition Agencies Direct the Orchestrating State.

ABSTRACT: This article analyzes the impact competition agencies have on the orchestrating role of states in domestic private regulation. I argue that these agencies can significantly affect interactions in the governance triangle through the way they apply a “logic of the market” to evaluate agreements between firms. The regulatory framework of European Union competition law has increasingly constrained the ability of firms to take into account broader interests when making agreements to foster social objectives. This logic of the market clashes with the ever‐increasing emphasis governments place on enabling firms to enter into such agreements. I analyze this tension through a case study of a pact of Dutch retailers to collectively introduce higher animal welfare standards for poultry. Using regulatory network analysis I trace the governance interactions between the governance triangle on the one hand (government, non‐governmental organizations, and firms), and the Dutch competition authority, Autoriteit Consument en Markt (ACM) and the European Commission on the other hand. Attempts by the Dutch government to instruct the ACM to be more lenient toward private regulation were blocked twice by the European Commission. As a result, the Dutch government abandoned private regulation as the preferred mode and proposed a bottom‐up process that would generate public regulation as a way to avoid conflict with competition policy. I argue that paradoxically enough the intervention of these non‐majoritarian competition agencies against the “will” of the governance triangle has potentially increased the effectiveness and legitimacy of orchestration processes.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/antitrustprof_blog/2018/12/out-of-tune-or-well-tempered-how-competition-agencies-direct-the-orchestrating-state.html

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