|Abstract as per original application
My project will explore the clash between antitrust legislation, a body of law originally designed to address market failures in Western democracies, and China, an economic superpower under authoritarian control. Set against the backdrop of China’s increasing integration with the globalized market, the project will analyze the significant challenges that Chinese antitrust regulation poses to foreign multinational companies doing business in China. It will chronicle those challenges and unravel their complex network of causes. By showing that the conflicts we observe on the surface are in fact deeply rooted in institutional factors, my research will offer a cautionary tale of the challenges that globalization poses to law and the economic order.
Thus far, most academic attention to Chinese antitrust law has focused on formal rules, procedures, and precedents. Few studies have examined the informal rules and extralegal factors that may also play an important role in driving law enforcement outcomes. My project will be the first to examine how key institutional factors, such as bureaucratic politics, reputation, and the media, can influence antitrust enforcement outcomes in China. It will analyze the incentive structure of Chinese administrative agencies, the constraints that they face when operating within the country’s vast bureaucratic system, the tactics that they use to establish their legal authority, and the reputation sanction on firms subjected to antitrust investigations, as well as the role the media plays in law enforcement.
Although my project will focus on antitrust law, its findings will have implications beyond the law. The idiosyncrasies in Chinese antitrust enforcement will serve as a reminder of how distinct China is from the rest of the world, and how important it is for the financial, legal, and political communities to fully recognize that distinction and prepare for the complex challenges involved. My project’s anticipated output is a monograph systematically examining the institutional issues in the enforcement of Chinese antitrust law and two peer-reviewed articles.