This chapter begins by exploring tension between a rule-based doctrinal conception of competition law, rooted in a private law conception of competition law, and an instrumental approach, emphasising the public ordering role of competition law. It then examines how competition law remains doctrinally distinctive in the light of its collision with other legal doctrines. Next, it sets out the extent to which competition law tends towards doctrinal consistency across jurisdictions both in the development of multilateral principles of competition in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and as a result of American antitrust influence. Finally, it examines the dependence of competition law on economic discourse, noting the limitations of that relationship. These limitations are due to the politics that underlies competition law and the choice of economic theory as well as the limited use made of quantitative economic analysis by courts.
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