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Freedom to trade and the competitive process

Joseph Farrell, Aaron S. Edlin, Public Law Research Paper No. 1761581, University of California - Berkeley School of Law, February 8, 2011

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Although antitrust courts sometimes stress the competitive process, they have not deeply explored what that process is. Inspired by the theory of the core, we explore the idea that the competitive process is the process of sellers and buyers forming improving coalitions. Much of antitrust can be seen as prohibiting firms’ attempts to restrain improving trade between their rivals and customers. In this way, antitrust protects firms’ and customers’ freedom to trade to their mutual betterment.

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