Standards in competition policy, such as the consumer welfare standard or the protecting competition standard, are the subject of considerable debate. This paper considers the relative advantages and disadvantages of alternative standards by first identifying their desirable attributes and then assessing several candidate standards against them. This assessment is complex, often leading to significant uncertainty on how each standard ranks in relation to an attribute. Nonetheless, it provides a basis upon which to consider their relative merits. There is unlikely to be a “one-size fits all” solution across jurisdictions, which may choose to weigh attributes differently. The paper also notes that while standards can affect outcomes in competition enforcement, many other factors can also have significant impacts, such as the standard of proof employed.
The Consumer Welfare Standard – Advantages and Disadvantages Compared to Alternative Standards – Background Note