Ignacio de Leon


The inception of antitrust policy in Latin America is marred with misconceptions about the role of this policy. The seemingly pro-competitive goals declared under the law collide with the pursuit of welfare efficiency goals that could impair the natural outcomes of unfettered market forces. This article argues that the inherent contradiction between the stated goals of antitrust policy and its practical effects ultimately rests on the lack of analytical relevance attached to the institutional milieu within which antitrust policy is to produce its effects. Institutional connections are necessary to convey relevant information across the system; without these, the market would break down. The pursuit of imaginary optimality in the allocation of resources drives antitrust enforcement; yet, its unattainable nature makes this goal meaningless as a policy yardstick. Worse still, it distorts the economic need for institutional links between economic agents that, unavoidably, policymakers take as manifestations of monopolistic behavior.

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