Antitrust and the Close Look: Transaction Cost Economics in Competition Policy

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter emphasizes the diversity of economic theory by addressing the role of transaction cost economics (TCE) within antitrust. It identifies one extreme the “structural” school, which saw market structure as the principal determinant of poor economic performance. At the other extreme was the Chicago School, which also saw the economic landscape in terms of competition and monopoly, but found monopoly only infrequently and denied that a monopolist could “leverage” its power into related markets. It is argued that TCE has served to limit antitrust analysis from the structuralist expansionism of the 1970s and earlier, but also as a corrective for those inclined to see the movement of resources as essentially costless. Both are extremes that antitrust policy should avoid.


economic theory, transaction cost economics, Structuralism, Chicago School, Antitrust policy, competition, monopoly

Publication Title

The Global Limits of Competition Law