According to Harvey (2013, pp. 6–7), ‘competition is one of those vague terms which are freely used in all discussion of social subjects; it conveys some meaning to all who utter or hear it; but this meaning as a rule is undefined and therefore inconstant; the word has different suggestions for different people’. Proceeding from Harvey’s definition, this chapter attempts to understand why antitrust policies can be perceived in different ways and how ideas can influence their evolution. Therefore, in order to explain how ideas have been able to modify political actors’ perceptions of antitrust or competition regulations over the course of history, we need to clarify the essence of competition as well as its general connotations. The notions of antitrust, competition policy and competitiveness are all semantically eclectic (see: De Gaay Fortman, 1966, p. 1; Neumann and Weigand, 2004, pp. 9–10). They do not only refer to a condition of rivalry in the market; they are also considered natural promoters of economic efficiency and welfare. Thus, this chapter will first seek to achieve a broader understanding of those main concepts, forming as they do the backbone of this research.


Institutional Change Consumer Surplus Economic Freedom Competition Policy Rational Choice Theory 
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Copyright information

© Eleonora Poli 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eleonora Poli
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI)Italy
  2. 2.City Political Economy Research Centre (CITYPERC)City University LondonUK

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