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Toward a Positive Economic Theory of Antitrust


Most economists associate antitrust policy with the Sherman and Clayton Acts. Nonetheless, there is in England and America a much older body of antitrust law, namely, the common law of restraint of trade. This regulation, like language and markets, evolved over a long period of time. This article examines whether the rules that the common law courts developed can be explained by a hypothetical wish to maximize social wealth and concludes that many of them can be. The last part of the article outlines a theory of legal evolution.

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