The Role of State Attorneys General in U.S. Antitrust Policy: Public Enforcement through Private Enforcement Methods
This paper discusses the role of State Attorneys General in the enforcement of the federal antitrust laws in the U.S. It provides a substantial background on the doctrinal roots of the State Attorney General's power to enforce federal antitrust laws. Then, it analyses the advantages of the state enforcement mechanism both in terms of providing redress to consumers and deterrence to undertakings. Building upon this framework and the empirical data on state enforcement, the paper critically analyses the proposals of the Antitrust Modernization Commission on state enforcement. It suggests that the State Attorneys General constitute a vital part of the federal antitrust scheme, and problems associated with their enforcement efforts are largely over-stated. Even if there is really a danger of over-enforcement, the paper argues that the problem can be solved through less dramatic amendments.
Parens patriae, state attorney general, antitrust modernization commission, hart-scott-rodino antitrust improvements act, indirect purchasers, treble damages, class actions
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