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The Late Emerging Consensus Among American Economists on Antitrust Laws in the Second New Deal

This paper presents the late convergence process from US economists that led them to support a strong antitrust enforcement in the late thirties despite their long standing distrust toward this legislation. The 1945 Alcoa decision crafted by Judge Hand embodied the results of this convergence. The purpose of antitrust law enforcement does not consist in promoting economic efficiency, as today’s more economic approach advocates, but in searching for a reasonable compromise aiming at preventing improper uses of economic power. This paper presents the path from which institutionalist economists, on one side, and Chicagoan neoliberals, on the other one, have converged on supporting the President F.D. Roosevelt administration towards reinvigorating antitrust law enforcement as of 1938, putting aside their initial preferences for a regulated competition model or for laissez-faire.

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