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Academic Articles Awards > General Antitrust

The Federal Trade Commission as an Independent Agency: Autonomy, Legitimacy, and Effectiveness

William E. Kovacic and Marc Winerman, Iowa Law Review, Vol. 100 Issue 5, p. 2085, July 2015

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Readers’ vote will close on February 15, 2016. Readers’ vote will allow you to nominate 1 article for each of the Awards, i.e., 10 Academic articles, 10 Business articles, and the best Soft Laws. The readers’ short-list of Academic and Business Articles will be communicated to the Board together with the 20 articles nominated by the Steering Committees. The Board will decide on the award-winning articles. Results will be announced at the Awards ceremony to take place in Washington DC on the eve of the ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting on April 5, 2016.

This Essay examines the relationship of competition agencies to the political process. We use the experience of the FTC to address three major issues. First, what does it mean to say that a competition agency is “independent”? Second, how much insulation from political control can a competition agency achieve in practice? Third, how is the pursuit of political independence properly reconciled with demands that a competition agency be accountable for its decisions—an important determinant of legitimacy—and with the need to engage with elected officials to be effective in performing functions such as advocacy?

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