2024 Stigler Center Antitrust and Competition Conference: Resource Page

2024 Antitrust and Competition Conference – Antitrust, Regulation and the Diffusion of Innovation

In 2017, the Stigler Center embarked on an ambitious project to reinvigorate the discussion of concentration and monopoly in the United States, starting with the conference Is There a Concentration Problem in America? Six years later, our 2023 Conference addressed the future of antitrust enforcement beyond the Consumer Welfare Standard—and there was broad academic agreement that it is time to move antitrust policy and enforcement forward.

One of our most engaging panels discussed the quantitative impact of antitrust enforcement on the US macroeconomy. There, Professor Chad Syverson (University of Chicago Booth School of Business), asked whether there are good measures of how antitrust enforcement impacts aggregate productivity by influencing the creation and diffusion of general-purpose technology, such as computer chips or artificial intelligence. This is a fair question that deserves careful consideration from the antitrust community. It can also be extended: how can societies design antitrust and regulatory policies to promote competition and innovation.

The first day of our two-day 2024 Antitrust Conference—Antitrust, Regulation and the Diffusion of Innovation—will focus on antitrust enforcement’s historical record of influencing the development and spread of general-purpose technology. Expert panels will discuss Syverson’s question about antitrust enforcement’s impact (or lack thereof) on the US economy and productivity. They will also interrogate famous case studies of antitrust enforcement, such as the breakup of AT&T, to discern if and how regulatory interventions have impacted innovation in the US and abroad.

The second day of the conference will turn from the past to the future. It will start with a discussion on how antitrust enforcement agencies around the world are transitioning to new regulatory competition models to tackle the unique problems endemic to digital markets. The conference will then shift to a discussion of the optimal regulatory policies that can encourage the development of competitive markets for artificial intelligence—the world’s best candidate for an innovation that can provide a boost in general productivity.

You can register to watch the livestream here. It is free to register and open to all.

2023 Antitrust and Competition Conference – Beyond the Consumer Welfare Standard?

In 2017, the Stigler Center embarked on an ambitious project to reinvigorate the discussion of concentration and monopoly in the United States, starting with the conference Is There a Concentration Problem in America?  Five years later, our 2022 Conference Antitrust: What’s Next? discussed whether the field of competition policy reached an inflection point—both in academia and in policy—that may lead to once-in-a-generation changes. The general answer was yes. However, there was little agreement on how exactly a modern US antitrust policy should look like. Are we looking for incremental reforms or for a broader rethinking of the whole system?

The 2023 Conference Beyond The Consumer Welfare Standard? will focus on this case for change. Join us for two days of engaging discussions on what is the strength of the economic evidence connecting weak antitrust enforcement with negative societal impacts, the challenges in rethinking merger review, whether the “Consumer Welfare Standard” is only a catchphrase, whether there is a better standard to replace it and, finally, whether Courts are expected to be part of the movement to increase enforcement or defenders of the status quo, among other topics.

You can read the agenda for the 2023 conference here and watch a recap of our 2023 conference here. In collaboration with ProMarket, the Stigler Center also published a series of papers on the topic as part of that debate, which can be found here. Also check out other coverage on ProMarket below. Also check out our Capitalisn’t podcast episode building on themes from the conference: The Evolution of Antitrust: From Brandeis To Biden.

2022 Antitrust and Competition Conference – Antitrust: What’s Next?

On April 21-22 2022, the Stigler Center hosted its annual antitrust conference, Antitrust: What’s Next? featuring a series of discussions on frontier topics such as the future of the consumer welfare standard, antitrust enforcement in labor markets and digital markets, the connection between market power and freedom of speech, and how to ensure that academics working on antitrust remain independent from special interest influence.

Launched in 2017, the Stigler Center’s annual antitrust conference brings together economists, legal scholars, thinkers, and business people to discuss and debate issues related to the present and future of antitrust enforcement. Over the years, it has proven to be remarkably influential and cited in multiple press reports and policy papers. It also yielded the Stigler Center’s 2019 Report on Digital Platforms

Antitrust policy had reached what appeared to be an inflection point—both in academia and in policymaking—that may lead to once-in-a-generation changes in its scope and intensity. The goal of our 2022 Conference “Antitrust: What’s Next?” was to take stock of the ongoing debates, understand the strengths and weaknesses of the different antitrust-reform camps, and discuss and inform the future of competition policy in the United States and abroad. In order to help facilitate these discussions, we prepared the following resource page on the Stigler Center’s antitrust conference over the years, and our coverage of it in ProMarket as well as the Stigler Center’s podcast, Capitalisn’t.

View the keynote conversation between FTC Chair Lina Khan and Chicago Booth Professor Guy Rolnik, and then watch the playlist of the rest of the conference videos here.

2017: Is There a Concentration Problem in America?

In 2017, the Stigler Center embarked on an ambitious project to reinvigorate the discussion of concentration and monopoly in the United States, culminating in the conference “Is There a Concentration Problem in America?” You can learn more about this historic conference in the e-book we published following it, which documented the various discussions that took place:

Read Luigi Zingales’s opening remarks to the 2017 conference: 

Our interview series that preceded the conference:

Our coverage of the different panels:

2018: Digital Platforms and Concentration

In 2018, the Stigler Center again brought together scholars and experts to consider digital platforms specifically. Watch it here: 

Read the e-book we published ahead of the 2018 conference, whose contributors include current FTC Chair Lina Khan:

Read our coverage of the 2018 conference: 

Listen to the 2018 Capitalisn’t series on the antitrust reform debate, including Kate’s and Luigi’s interview with current FTC Chair Lina Khan:

2019: A Path Forward and the Stigler Report

From the 2018 conference on Digital Platforms and Concentration a consensus emerged that the issues raised by these platforms must be addressed, and—to provide independent expertise on potential policy responses—the Center formed a Committee for the Study of Digital Platforms. The result was the Stigler Center Report on Digital Platforms, as well as the 2019 conference on Digital Platforms, Markets, and Democracy: A Path Forward, in which the Stigler Report’s main findings and recommendations were presented. 

Watch the 2019 conference here: 

Read the Stigler Center ’s full 336-page Report on Digital Platforms here: 

Read our coverage of the 2019 conference and the Stigler report here: 

2020-2021:  Monopolies and Politics

The Covid-19 pandemic forced us to move online, so between 2020 and 2021 we hosted a Virtual Conference Webinar Series on the interconnection between market and political power called Monopolies and Politics. Watch all the webinars here: