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This brief essay reviews Firat Cengiz’s book Antitrust Federalism in the EU and the US (2012), which compares the role of federalism in the competition law of the European Union and the United States. Both of these systems are “federal,” of course, because both have individual nation-states (Europe) or states (US) with their own individual competition provisions, but also an overarching competition law that applies to the entire group. This requires a certain amount of cooperation with respect to both territorial reach and substantive coverage.

Cengiz distinguishes among “markets,” “hierarchies,” and “networks” as forms of federalism. Markets are the least centralized and have more episodic, or ad hoc, control. As a result they are more prone to policy “races” among sovereigns in the system. Cengiz concludes that the EU and US systems are similar in that both begin with a set of system-wide policies that are broad and strong, with internal unification as a primary objective. Where they tend to differ is in areas governing conflicts between the laws at the different levels. Here, the US system is more structured and hierarchical, while the EU system tends to rely more on cooperation.


antitrust law, competition law, comparative law, EU competition policy, federalism