Book Review: Economic Development: the Critical Role of Competition Law and Policy, edited by Eleanor M. Fox and Abel M. Mateus

Economic Development: the Critical Role of Competition Law and Policy, edited by Eleanor M. Fox and Abel M. Mateus. Edward Elgar Publishing Company 2011. (2 volumes; volume 1 471 pages , volume 2 593 pages);  $599.95 hardcover edition.

Economic Development: the Role of Competition Law and Policy is an excellent collection of essays for any scholar interested in the area of international law and trade; specifically, anyone interested in international business law in developing countries will find these two volumes very useful.

These two volumes collect essays previously published related to competition law and how such laws affect the growth and development of the economy, concentrating primarily on developing countries.  The volumes examine how government barriers can or have been removed in order to allow free entry into the market in comparison to how the government in these countries can retain these barriers and in effect frustrate the notions of free competition.

Volume 1 focuses on issues of legal design of economic and political economic trade policies.  In this volume, the articles concentrate on how these legal and economic policies affect developing countries; some specific issues examined are: the improper assumption by international organizations that the foundation already exists in developing countries for the proposed market mechanisms; the incorrect belief that wealth from the implementation of these market mechanisms would solve poverty problems; how competition in the market can provide for greater government accountability and transparency; and how high transportation costs, infrastructure costs and restrictive business practices may thwart gains from a competitive market system.

The second volume focuses on competition law and institutions for advocacy and enforcement of said competition law.  This volume takes a look at how the law and legal strategies can be used to harness competition to advance development goals.  Issues discussed include the difference between developing countries and developed countries, how monopolies and cartels can impede competitive markets, and how such issues can hopefully be resolved.  In the final section, the experiences of China, India, Chile, Mexico and Sub-Saharan Africa are specifically reviewed in order to illustrate the issues previously discussed.

Having majored in Economics as an undergraduate, the ideas presented in these two volumes present interesting ideas and illustrate some very important issues that tend to block the implementation of competitive markets in many nations.  The articles demonstrate how these competitive markets are at least one way to help developing nations to continue their development.  By gathering these essays, although many were previously published elsewhere, and organizing them into these two volumes, the editors have created a truly valuable resource for anybody interested in researching in this area.

Reviewed by Paul D. Venard, Reference Librarian, University of Dayton Zimmerman Law Library

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June 2011

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