The government plays increasingly active and diversified roles in the modern economy. How to draw the boundary between the market and the state has emerged as a contentious issue in various areas of law, including constitutional law, antitrust, and international trade. This Article surveys and critiques the law’s current approaches to the market-versus-state divide, embodied in four tests based on ownership, control, function, and role, respectively. This Article proposes an alternative market-versus-state test based on the nature of the power being exercised in the challenged action. This power-based test not only better distinguishes between the market and the state, but also illuminates why the market-versus-state distinction needs to be made in the first place. Applying this power-based test would bring much needed logic and clarity to many market-versus-state issues in various legal contexts.
Wentong Zheng, Untangling the Market and the State, 67 Emory L.J. 243 (2017), available at