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The Evolution of Antitrust Institutional Frameworks and American Hegemony: Merger Regulations in the U.S. and Europe during Economic and Financial Crises

Eleonora Poli

This paper aims to analyse the modalities which Washington has been using in influencing the institutional frameworks of antitrust in Europe, in the context of two crises: the 1970s oil crises and the 2007-2011 credit crisis. Despite their different origins and consequences, those crises have manifestly questioned the U.S. economic dominance and hegemony over Europe. Moreover, they have evidenced that the U.S. liberal model of political economy was no longer efficient and its institutional framework had to be adapted to the new social necessities. Therefore, this paper intends to analyse the way the U.S. used antitrust to restore its economy and then influence European competition working rules in order to promote a model of capitalism that would reinforce its economic power and hegemony. Here, even the literature on varieties of capitalism suggests that each state normally develops a particular form of capitalism conformed to its cultural, social, political and economic necessities; I argue that the U.S. has been trying to influence the frame of antitrust reference in order to make sure that the development of a European continental model of capitalism would not impede its commercial interests and the maintenance of its hegemony.

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