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Le marché et la règle : l'encadrement juridique des relations entre la grande distribution et ses fournisseurs

Abstract : Faced with the increasing market power of French mass retail, suppliers lobbied the state into protecting them. The state intervened by creating a new set of rules (“Titre IV du livre IV du Code de commerce”: henceforth “Title IV”) that specifically targeted the annual bargaining process between retailers and suppliers. This dissertation describes the transformation of Title IV and questions whether law constitutes a useful resource to settle structural economic imbalances. To achieve this, I investigated how Title IV was drafted and enforced by DGCCRF (a department of the French ministry of Finance) and how retailers responded to those rules. Results show how to turn economic and commercial law into an effective weapon in the hands of weaker market players. To make Title IV effective, the state regulator incorporated moral principles into statutes and encouraged judges to adjudicate on a case-by-case basis, rather than strictly following the letter of the law. However, results also show the limits of law as a means of settling economic imbalances. By hiring lawyers and complying symbolically with regulations (rather than obeying the letter of the law), mass retailers gradually internalized Title IV. DGCCRF responded by drafting more precise rules. This had the unexpected consequence of making symbolic compliance even more widespread. Title IV had another unexpected effect. It created a sense of solidarity among a group of legal professionals and civil servants. To that group, defending the boundaries of Title IV as a field of expertise became more important than defending specific economic interests.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 27, 2022 - 3:15:33 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 4, 2022 - 10:05:30 AM


  • HAL Id : tel-03653236, version 1



Sebastian Billows. Le marché et la règle : l'encadrement juridique des relations entre la grande distribution et ses fournisseurs. Sociologie. Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Sciences Po, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017IEPP0008⟩. ⟨tel-03653236⟩



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