Competition Law & Policy as an Emerging IPE Issue

Prof. Tim Büthe

Competition policy seeks to constrain market power and safeguard market entry and contestability, mostly through legal and regulatory mechanism. It has traditionally been considered a domestic matter–warranting above all legal and economic analysis. I argue that competition policy is an important and inherently political emerging IPE issue. I identify three recent developments that make competition law and policy an important emerging issue for understanding international political economy: (1) a changing understanding of the political economy of trade as requiring competition law and policy as complements; (2) the rapid global diffusion competition law and policy; and (3) the resulting increased probability of cross-border conflicts - with corresponding incentives for increased transgovernmental cooperation. For each of these developments, I flag opportunities for research by IPE scholars.