Means and Ends in Competition Law Enforcement

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Should competition law enforcement change its focus away from competition and measures of welfare towards broader objectives, such as greater equality, employment or economic development? The case for this is usually made solely on the basis of values: because these things are more important than narrow competition objectives. So they are, but in this article I suggest that this is not enough: it is surely also necessary to demonstrate that such an approach is effective. There is little direct evidence to support the idea that competition law is the best way to pursue such goals but there is indirect evidence, from regulatory policies, that such interventions can perversely harm the very objectives they seek to promote. Such evidence is not conclusive, but it surely places the onus on proponents of alternative ends for competition law to demonstrate that their means of achieving such ends will actually work.