Antitrust and Competition

Antitrust and Labor

Does antitrust have a labor market problem? The last few years have seen growing interest among academic scholars in the causes and effects of concentration in US labor markets. Concurrently (and not unrelated), there has been an explosion of interest among policymakers and the general public in the impact that firms with market power may have on wages and working conditions. What do the data say regarding employer concentration and its effect on workers? Is antitrust in its current form equipped to address issues related to labor market power? In an attempt to answer these questions and more, we have decided to launch a series of articles on antitrust and the labor market.

Corporate Governance

The system of formal and informal rules by which a company is governed. Corporate governance shapes more than just a given's company value - it dictates who controls the capital in the economy and so how this capital is being put the use. Corporate governance therefore affects and is affected by the degree of cronyism and rent-seeking in society.

Media

Effective media scrutiny can help mitigate many of the problems that lead to regulatory capture, by helping the polity to become informed and mobilized. But what are the conditions that create effective media scrutiny? And why do we observe so little of it in reality? “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.” Justice Louis D. Brandeis

Regulatory Capture

When regulation protects narrow interests – usually the interests of the incumbent industry – at the expense of the public interest. Capture occurs in various ways: from straightforward bribes and threats, to more implicit quid pro quos such as the lucrative future employment (revolving door), to softer forms of cognitive/cultural capture. “... as a rule, regulation is acquired by the industry and is designed and operated primarily for its benefit.” George Stigler - The Theory of Economic Regulation (1971)

Special interest groups

Special interest groups: Groups with preferences that differ from the preferences of the median voter. There is nothing wrong with special interests forming groups per se; the trouble starts when they disproportionally sway policy in their favor. “...the great enemy of democracy is monopoly, in all its forms: gigantic corporations, trade associations and other agencies for price control, trade-union… Effectively organized functional groups possess tremendous power for exploiting the community at large and even sabotaging the system.” Henry Calvert Simons - A Positive Program for Laissez Faire (1934)

Antitrust Misunderstands Innovation. This Is How We Fix It.

Antitrust misunderstands innovation by focusing almost entirely on incentives to innovate to the neglect of questions regarding the ability to innovate through...

Too Many Economists Are Using a Flawed Theory To Defend Dominant Platforms’ Self-Preferencing Practices

Congress is currently considering two major bills that would regulate “self-preferencing” and related conduct by dominant digital platforms. Criticism of these bills...

Unfair Methods of Competition

The FTC’s new policy on unfair methods of competition is an assertion of the original purpose of the agency, allowing it to...

Why Disruptive Innovation Has Declined Since 2000

Traditional accounts of the growing power of large firms implicate antitrust or political corruption. But in a recent book, economist James Bessen...

How the Wrong Presumptions Led to the Wrong Conclusions in the United/Change Healthcare Merger

On Sept. 19, a federal judge approved UnitedHealth Group’s acquisition of Change Healthcare over the concerns of the U.S. Department of Justice....

Understanding the Virtues of the Robinson-Patman Act Requires Understanding When It Is Most Effective

The literature on the benefits of the Robinson-Patman Act for consumer welfare is often contradictory. Professors Roman Inderst and Tommaso Valletti argue...

Event Notes: The Consumer Welfare Standard Is Dead, Long Live the Standard

It seems that the only thing academics and policymakers can agree about regarding the Consumer Welfare Standard is that it needs reforming....

Fighting New Antitrust Rules Is a Bad Move for Big Tech

With new limits on platforms taking effect in the EU and U.S. politicians showing greater willingness to defy tech titans, companies would...

Can The Robinson-Patman Act Be Salvaged?

Adding to ProMarket’s discussion of the Robinson-Patman Act, Herbert Hovenkamp argues that – among other issues– the law was captured by special...

The Needless Desertion of Robinson-Patman

ProMarket is kicking-off a discussion of the Robinson-Patman Act (RPA), an antitrust law preventing price discrimination that hasn't been enforced in decades....

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Antitrust Misunderstands Innovation. This Is How We Fix It.

Antitrust misunderstands innovation by focusing almost entirely on incentives to innovate to the neglect of questions regarding the ability to innovate through...

How Should the Law Tackle Rapidly Evolving Financial Technologies?

The last half-century has witnessed an explosion of technology changing how the financial landscape functions for customers and new and legacy banking...

The Road to Hayek: A Comprehensive History of Neoliberalism’s Forefather

In their first of two volumes, historians of economics Bruce Caldwell and Hansjoerg Klausinger access new archival material to explore the first...

International Policymaking Must Evolve

In this Q&A about his new book for ProMarket, Paul Tucker explains the changing global order and the need for academics, policymakers...

Capitalism Does Not Require a Tradeoff Between Planet and Profit

Critics of capitalism claim that the economic system incorrigibly encourages the exploitation of the planet and is thus incompatible with efforts to...

Event Notes: Academic Bias Under the Microscope

That scholarship often reflects conscious and unconscious biases has long been an open secret in academia. On April 22, Professors Christian Leuz,...

Corporations Are Not “We the People”

The Citizens United ruling contradicts the Founders, decades of Supreme Court precedent and the will of the American people.