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The aim of this book is to explore the economic fundamentals of European competition law. Even though most commentators would agree that competition policy is concerned with the economic consequences of market power, they would not all subscribe the view that curing the possible inefficiencies of market power is the sole aim of competition law. In the USA, under influence of the Chicago School, the antitrust regulation focuses on economic goals and more specifically on allocation and production efficiency.
However, in European competition policy non-economic goals play a more important role. European competition policy embraces a multitude of political goals. The most prominent of these objectives, among others, is the achievement of market integration, which eventually may come at the expense of inefficiencies in the organisation of production and distribution. In addition, European competition policy puts emphasis on consumer welfare, freedom of action and fairness and on the protection of small and medium sized companies.
Nevertheless, this book shows that an economic interpretation of the European competition rules remains possible; it is only required to broaden the traditional theorems of welfare economics with a full consideration of the consequences of efficiency savings for consumers, which obviously adds an additional layer of complexity to the analysis.