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)

Whistleblowers are Motivated by Moral Reasons Above Monetary Ones

Studies consistently show that whistleblowers are motivated by moral reasons. The primacy of moral concerns makes sense, considering how frequently whistleblowers face exclusion and retaliation rather...

SEC and Revolving Doors: Q&A with Eric Ben-Artzi, the Deutsche Bank Whistleblower Who Rejected a Multimillion Dollar Award

ProMarket interviews Eric Ben-Artzi, the former Deutsche Bank risk officer turned whistleblower who rejected an $8.25 million award from the SEC.  In May 2015, Deutsche Bank...

Combatting External and Internal Regulatory Capture

External and internal capture may be reduced through a more logical division of labor between Congress and agencies. In these hyper-partisan times, one is hard-pressed...

Regulators as Validators

Special interest groups can use their influence over regulation to water down not just potential legal sanctions but also potential reputational sanctions. What deters corporate...

Are “Pay for Delay” Settlements in Patent Litigation Collusive?

A new study suggests that “pay for delay” settlements–in which generic drug manufacturers that challenge the patents of branded drug firms agree to drop...

The Elusiveness of Regulatory Capture

Regulatory capture is hard to pin down, its elusiveness stemming from four principal factors. Nearly everyone sees regulatory capture – and rightly disdains it. And...

What Role for Antitrust in the Era of Rising Inequality? The Importance of Power in Supply Chains

Concentration of power in supply chains is a prime mechanism by which dominant companies consolidate power and profits. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 was...

Regulatory Capture is Not “Inevitable”

“Capture” has become a self-fulfilling prophecy of economists who turn their students into sure-to-fail regulators. A Wall Street Journal editorial asserted the “inevitability” of...

Prosecuting Corporate Criminals

Prosecutions of individual corporate criminals can, in fact, be successful—and are critical for attaining justice. It is difficult to escape the inference that the Great...

“Why Argue With the Government When You Can Buy the Government?”: Q&A with Gary Reback

In an interview with ProMarket, antitrust lawyer Gary Reback elaborated on the difference between antitrust enforcement in the U.S. and Europe, the influence the U.S. Supreme...

Latest news

Healthcare Companies Spent More on Lobbying Than Any Other Industry Last Year

Threatened by regulated price caps from congress, the pharmaceutical industry spent nearly $390 million on lobbying in 2021 according to new data...

Antitrust and Rule by Judges

The early-1980s Posner-Stigler memorandum to incoming president Reagan’s transition team is interesting for a host of reasons, but most of all in...

Should the European Union Require Tech Firms to Adopt a Common Charger?

According to a new European Commission directive expected to be approved in the next few months, tech firms will have to use...

Chart of the Week: Economists Don’t Think Congress Should Make Price Gouging Illegal

Most economists disagree with a new bill in the US that would set limits on "unconscionably excessive prices," according to a recent...

Neoliberal Economists Are Giving Biden Bad Advice on Inflation

To spare the economy from the pain of further interest rate hikes, the President should aggressively pursue anticompetitive conduct by companies in...

How Would the Big Tech Self-Preferencing Bill Affect Users? 

The Senate looks to be nearing a vote on the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which would prohibit gatekeeping digital platforms...

New eBook Revisits George Stigler’s Theory of Regulatory Capture 50 Years Later

To mark the 50-year anniversary of George Stigler’s seminal piece, “The Theory of Economic Regulation” we are publishing a new eBook examining...