Transnational debates about the role of economics in competition law have paid relatively little systematic attention to the embeddedness of economics in institutions. They typically proceed as if embeddedness were not an issue. The assumption often appears to be that economics looks, acts and functions in the same way wherever it is applied. This assumption is frequently the basis for claims supporting increased use of economics in competition law systems around the world.
This article examines that assumption and argues that the institutional embeddedness of economics needs to be taken into account when we wish to evaluate and analyze the role of economics in law, in general, and in antitrust law, in particular. The underlying issues in virtually all legal analysis are 'what decisions will be made?' and 'what kinds of factors influence those decisions?' Given the extraordinary increases in the role and value of economics in some areas of the law, it is critical to identify and assess the modalities through which economics influences legal decisions. The institutional embeddedness of economics should play a central role in making those assessments.