The research and teaching led by Prof. Tim Büthe on what in the United States is known as "antitrust" and in the rest of the world is mostly known as "competition" law and policy seeks to advance our understanding of the politics, law, and economics of market competition in a global economy.

OVERVIEW:  Competition law seeks to enhance economic welfare and economic freedom by prohibiting cartels as well as generally institutions and behaviors that reduce or eliminate market competition, such as using a monopolisitic position in the market to keep out competitors or colluding to fix prices, divide up market, or rig bids for contracts.  The public enforcement of such laws, however, is inherently political, because it entails the use of the power of the state to constrain or re-distribute market power.  Understanding the fundamantally political nature of competition policy underscores the need for the political analysis of antitrust law and enforcement, all the more so since the selective enforcement of competition laws, perversely, can actually protect market participants from competitors and may even create or exaccerbate inefficiencies.  Moreover, competition policy is much broader than antitrust law and enforcement. It includes non-enforcement strategies for promoting a competitive environment for economic activities—most prominently "competition advocacy" by a competition agency vis-a-vis other governmental agencies. And such advocacy relies upon fundamentally political mechanisms, from disclosure of (the proponents of) anti-competitive laws, regulations, and decisions to the use of institutional hierarchies within the government.  In sum, competition law and policy requires not just legal and economic but also political analysis.

The RESEARCH conducted as part of this project, much of it with current and former students, focuses on:

  • The Global Diffusion of Competition Law and Policy:
    Economic Interdependence and International Institutions
  • Political-Economic Effects of Competition Law and Policy:
    Consequences for Market Competition, Innovation, and Rent-Seeking
  • Competition Law and Policy in Global Markets:
    The Effect of International Market Integration on Competition Law and Policy
  • EU Competition Policy:
    The Development of Supranational Authority over Anti-competitive Behavior, Mergers, and State Aid, 1951-2010
  • The Domestic Politics of U.S. Antitrust:
    Political Sources of U.S. Antitrust Law and Enforcement, 1970-2015
  • Competition Law and Policy in Developing Countries:
    Domestic and International Causes and Consequences

To learn more, please click on the corresponding links above.

TEACHING on comparative and international antitrust/competition law and policy has complemented this research:

Duke University Political Science 255/Public Policy 254/History 252: America in the World Economy – The Law, Politics & Economics of U.S. Antitrust, 1890-2015.  This course, aimed primarily at undergraduate students, provides an introduction to the history and key issues in U.S. antitrust from the beginning of federal antitrust legislation in 1890 through today, with special emphasis on how the politics and economics of antitrust law have been intertwined with the position of the United States in the world economy.  The course is designed to expose students to different ways of thinking about antitrust law and enforcement, as well as more broadly to how diffferent disciplines approach the relationship between law, politics, and economics in the governance of global markets.  The course is cross-listed in three departments and counts toward the Markets & Management certificate, the Duke-UNC Politics, Philosophy & Economics certificate, and the Kenan Institute's Ethics certificate.

Duke University Political Science 555/Public Policy 555/Ethics 555: Politics of Market Competition in a Global Economy.  This course examines varying approaches to competition law and policy across Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America in comparison with the U.S. antitrust tradition, and analyzes international aspects of antitrust/competition law and policy, such as the global diffusion of competition laws and agencies, as well as international conflict and cooperation over competition law enforcement.  This course is aimed at advanced undergraduates as well as graduate students in Political Science, Public Policy and Law.  It counts toward the Markets & Management certificate.

PROF. BÜTHE is professor of political science and public policy at the Hochschule für Politik München (Bavarian School of Public Poliy) at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, as well as a senior fellow and founding member of the Rethinking Regulation Project atthe Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, where he previously was an associate professor of political science and public policy at Duke University. In June 2015, he was appointed by the World Bank and the OECD to its Global Network of Experts on Competition and Shared Prosperity (as part of the competitively selected inaugural group of this scholar-policymaker network).  In further recognition of the research and the activities that he has led at Duke University, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) invited the Department of Political Science and the Kenan Institute's Rethinking Regulation Project to become an UNCTAD Partner Institution; we joined the UNCTAD Research Partnership Platform in July 2015.  The Hochschule of Politik München, is now the UNCTAD Partner Institution.