The Problem with Cooperation
This chapter focuses on the one area of economic regulation that seems to complement, rather than thwart, markets. It makes the case against international cooperation regarding competition policy. The case rests on three propositions: A large portion of international economic transactions involve innovative, knowledge-based industries; no international consensus exists about the optimal structure of such industries; and in the absence of consensus about optimal industry structure, cooperation that purports to promote competition policy may instead protect incumbents and stifle innovation. It argues that the case for international cooperation over competition policy turns on dubious premises and unrealistic hopes. It might just be possible that someone can design an institution that both insulates competition policy specialists from the conventional pressure to provide rents to special interests and confines the range of cooperation to subjects on which competition policy has reached a solid and general consensus. But specifying either of these features seems challenging, and imposing both, highly unlikely.
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