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)

Attorneys General for Sale? We Should Focus on the Practice, Not Just on Trump’s Role

Trump is not the only, nor the biggest, player in the game of influencing attorneys general. Singling him out for opprobrium is aiming at the...

Stigler Center Talk: Deutsche Bank Whistleblower on the SEC and Revolving Doors

Eric Ben-Artzi, the former Deutsche Bank risk officer turned whistleblower who rejected a multi-million dollar award from the SEC, will give a talk at...

140 Years of Antitrust: "Competition" in Democratic and Republican Platforms

 In the second installment of our four-part series about the history of antitrust language in American political discourse, we review the evolution of economic language...

The Power of Convictions

Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom, winners of this year's Nobel Prize in Economics, created a new area of economic inquiry. They also had a profound...

Are Special Interests Dooming the Euro to Fail?

As the Eurozone struggles to stave off a lingering economic crisis, four economists debate the measures necessary to ensure its survival and what’s preventing...

The ProMarket Monthly Roundup

The first edition of our monthly roundup that includes ProMarket posts from the previous month, as well as interesting stories from our “Weekly Briefing” section. The...

140 Years of Antitrust: Are Brandeisian Pro-Competition and Anti-Monopoly Sentiments Coming Back Into the Political Discourse?

The first installment in a four-part series about the history of antitrust language in American political discourse: politicians from the Right and the Left...

Capture and Ignorance in Financial Regulation

The most fruitful avenue for reducing regulatory capture is to impose more checks-and-balances on our agencies, reversing recent trends toward expediency. After spending some years...

How Can Antitrust Be Used to Protect Competition in the Digital Marketplace?

In this second part of our two-part interview with Maurice Stucke and Ariel Ezrachi, the two discuss how competition authorities can mitigate tacit collusion...

Is the Digital Economy Much Less Competitive Than We Think It Is?

Maurice E. Stucke from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and Ariel Ezrachi of Oxford University explain how big data and artificial intelligence can be...

Latest news

New Study Warns Antitrust Inaction May Lead To Acceptable Collusion for Public Policy Considerations

The modernization of EU antitrust laws muddied the water with regard to the ways that antitrust authorities and courts should handle situations...

Dark Money Dominates Spending by Special Interest Groups and Sways Elections

New research on undisclosed and unlimited political contributions, or dark money, exposes the increasing role that such funds play in U.S. elections.

The “Conspiracy” of Consumer Welfare Theory

Matt Stoller argues there was a conspiracy. It was more of an association with a singular purpose.

Researchers Find Reduced Competition After Pandemic

The chart of the week comes from a new research paper that documents the increase in small business closures during the Covid...

Voters Still Believe Politics is About the Common Good, Not Just Rent-Seeking

Do voters still believe that politics can be a source for common-good policies and not just partisan bickering and rent-seeking? With political...

How to Design Data Protection Laws That Actually Work 

More and more countries are passing data protection laws, yet empirical studies show that these laws rarely deliver on their promises. A...

Are Monopolists or Cartels the True Source of Anticompetitive US Political Power?

Trade associations are often the biggest obstacles to competitive markets, especially when those organizations use their influence to change public policy in...