Dispersion of Power as an Economic Goal of Antitrust Policy

  • Stephen MartinEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Economic Thought book series (PHET)


This chapter surveys the range of objectives ascribed to US antitrust policy from its formative period through the early 1970s. Martin discusses and rejects Robert Bork’s analysis of the legislative intent behind the Sherman Act and considers the Kaldor-Hicks potential Pareto improvement principle, a central element of Bork’s argument. An elementary model shows that social preferences about aspects of market performance not captured by consumer surplus or net social welfare can be included in standard economic models. He further argues that the role of economics as a science in analyzing market performance is limited to characterizing the costs and benefits of pursuing alternative policy objectives and that economics as a science is agnostic concerning what policy goals should be.


Antitrust Policy Consumer Surplus Market Performance Analysis Clayton Act Consumer Welfare 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank the University of Bologna for its hospitality during the sabbatical visit when this chapter was written. I am grateful for comments received during seminar presentations at the University of Bologna, at the 14th annual meeting of the Italian Association for the History of Economic Thought, “Power in the History of Economic Thought”, at the University of Salento, at the Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia, from Nicola Giocoli and Herbert Hovenkamp. Responsibility for errors is my own.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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