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Dr Eleonora Poli

Department of International Politics

City Political Economy Research Centre

E: Eleanora.poli.1@city.ac.uk

Thesis title: Understanding the Power of Ideas in the Globalising Economy: The Evolution and Internationalisation of Antitrust

Supervisors: Dr Anastasia Nesvetailova and Dr David Williams

Overview and research interests

Eleonora's thesis aims to generate an understanding of antitrust and its evolution in the context of the globalising economy of the 20th and early 21st centuries. This is done by focusing on the role of economic ideas and more specifically, conceptual approaches to competition policy, in the international context. Existing legal and economic studies have mainly framed antitrust as the disciplinary tool regulating market competition according to criteria of efficiency and/or economic welfare. So far, few researchers have addressed the enforcement of policies - and specifically, of market competition regulations, without resorting to pure rational-choice or reflectivist arguments.

The thesis aims to fill this gap by examining the ways in which abstract economic concepts and theories on the one hand and material interests on the other, by influencing political actors' understanding of reality, have shaped the decision-making process behind specific antitrust policies and laws. The analysis is built on a pan-institutional methodology, a synthesis of an institutional understanding of antitrust and sociological theories of isomorphism. Pan-institutionalism is employed in Eleonora's research to examine the development of antitrust policies in the US, Europe and Japan during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the oil crises of the 1970s and the current recession.

The study suggests that both competition paradigms and material interests have been essential in inspiring US regulators to enforce specific antitrust policies. To a degree, these US-originated approaches have been internalised by Europe and Japan through formal and informal institutions, and adapted in light of major economic crises. At the same time however, the reliance of Europe and Japan on their traditional understanding of market practices has prevented a total harmonisation of their antitrust policies with the dominant American ones.

Research interests:

  • Antitrust
  • Competition policy
  • Historical institutionalism
  • New institutionalism
  • Constructivist institutionalism (organisational theory)
  • Institutionalism (economic history)


  • "State aid regulation and European governance: The Commission's visible hand during the crisis of the 70's and the credit crunch", 2012, Bruylant Bruxelles (edited volume).
  • "The paradox of competition policy in the US and EU: Is efficiency enough for economic freedom?", 2011, IDEAS on Europe (op-ed)

Conference papers

  • "The evolution of antitrust institutional framework: U.S. and European merger policies during the crisis of the 70's and the credit crunch". Paper presented at 'New Frontiers in European Studies: UACES Student Forum 12th Annual Conference', University of Surrey, Guildford, 30 June-1 July, 2011
  • "The evolution of antitrust institutional framework: the American hegemony beyond global challenges". Paper presented at Cost Training School: '(What) Have we learned? New perspectives on the political economy of finance and regulation', Université Paris VIII, 10-12 May, 2011
  • "Financial crisis effect on governance in the EU: The development of state aid regulation beyond the oil crisis and the credit crunch". Paper presented at the conference on 'The Financial Crisis, EMU and Stability of Currencies and the Financial System', University of Victoria, 30 September-2 October, 2010
  • "State aid regulation and European governance: the Commission's visible hand during the crisis of the 70's and the credit crunch". Paper presented at the 8th WISH Workshop on 'The Visible Hand: European and Global Perspectives on Financial Market Regulation and Economic Governance', ESSCA Graduate School of Management, 25-28 February, 2010


  • International Political Economy (IP2015)
  • Actors in Global Politics (IP1013)


Find Eleonora on the following websites: