Clashing Titans: Extraterritorial Regulation and Its Implications for Antitrust Coordination between the U.S. and EU, featuring Tonya Putnam

February 8, 2011Duke Law News

Thursday, February 10
5:30 - 6:45 pm | Room 4042

Open to the public.


Why is there no international agreement on competition policy? Competition policy is central to public economic policy in Europe and the United States and is closely related to trade policy where cooperation is highly institutionalized. Further, the absence of coordination generates sizable transaction costs for powerful private actors in both contexts. U.S. and EU cooperation on antitrust has not foundered on the rocks of deep disagreement about the fundamental objectives of competition policy. While U.S. and European regulators sometimes prioritize problems differently, and make different calls about where to draw the line at the margins of allowed behavior, the main area of divergence concerns mechanisms for enforcement. At the heart of this divergence is U.S. reliance on a long-standing practice of allowing its domestic courts to enforce U.S. regulatory rules and standards extraterritorially on the basis of harmful effects felt in the United States and the inability of European regulators to emulate this pattern. This paper elaborates and applies a general explanatory framework that focuses on (a) shared understandings of public and private actors about the prescriptive reach of national rules, (b) availability and access to enforcement triggers, and (c) expected efficacy of seeking regulatory enforcement in various contexts to illuminate the causes of the observed deadlock. It concludes by drawing some implications about the conditions under which we might expect domestic courts to be instrumental in projecting the shadow of domestic law extraterritorially.


Tonya Putnam (Ph.D. Stanford University, 2005, J.D. Harvard 2002) researches topics at the intersection of international relations and international law. Currently her primary focus involves explaining the conditions under which U.S. courts have exercised extraterritorial jurisdiction to regulate transnational disputes involving private parties and its implications for the origins and enforcement of rules in the international system. She has been a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University and a Fellow and longtime affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. Professor Putnam is also a member of the California State Bar.

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