Regulation of Liberal Professions and Competition Policy: Developments in the EU and China

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Abstract

The regulation of professional services has been high on the political agenda for years now in Europe. This paper points out the methods of working and the strategies used by the European Commission (Directorate General for Competition) and various national competition authorities to promote deregulation of the professions throughout the European Union. Central to this discussion are the so-called public interest and private interest approaches to regulation. On the one hand, the European Commission seems to have been influenced by developments in particular Member States (bottom-up effects), whereas on the other hand, there have been top-down effects in recent years, at least in some Member States. The European experience is used to study the recent developments in China, and in particular the regulation of lawyers. I find that the argument of information asymmetry may have more relevance in China than in Europe. In addition, the fact that liability rules may not yet be a good alternative for (or supplement to) quality regulation may also make a stronger case for regulation in China. However, economic theory and European practice have taught us that there is a general risk of disproportional regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-231
JournalJournal of Competition Law and Economics
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

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