An outlet for insiders to speak freely (as they remain anonymous to the reader) on what they perceive as problematic practices in their own industry – with an emphasis on how the industry tweaks the rules of the game and captures regulation.
"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice.” Adam Smith - An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776)
The draft Merger Guidelines largely replace the consumer welfare standard of the Chicago School with the lessening of competition principle found in the 1914 Clayton Act. This shift would enable the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice Antitrust Division to utilize the full extent of modern economics to respond to rising concentration and its harmful effects, writes John Kwoka.
Joshua Gray and Cristian Santesteban argue that the Federal Trade Commission's focus in Meta-Within and Microsoft-Activision on narrow markets like VR fitness apps and consoles missed the boat on the real competition issue: the threat to future competition in nascent markets like VR platforms and cloud gaming.
Antitrust debates have largely ignored questions about the relationship between market power and productivity, and scholars have provided little guidance on the issue due to data limitations. However, data is plentiful on the hospital industry for both market power and operating costs and productivity, and researchers need to take advantage, writes David Ennis.
Meta has silenced news organizations’ social media accounts in response to Canada’s Online News Act, a law not yet in effect. Josh Braun describes the reasoning behind such legislation, its potential flaws, and how Meta, particularly Facebook, has turned the Canadian wildfire crisis into a regulatory pressure campaign.
To support the Agencies’ goals of stronger antitrust enforcement, Fiona Scott Morton recommends breaking the draft Merger Guidelines into three documents that clarify the Guidelines’ legal and economic justifications and overarching goals and priorities.
In new research, Valentino Larcinese and Alberto Parmigiani find that the 1986 Reagan tax cuts led to greater campaign spending from wealthy individuals, who benefited the most from this policy. The authors argue that a very permissive system of political finance, combined with the erosion of tax progressivity, created the conditions for the mutual reinforcement of economic and political disparities. The result was an inequality spiral hardly compatible with democratic ideals.
Many financial commentators thought that the surge of retail investors participating in the stock market, the most notable of whom boosted “meme stocks” like GameStop, would democratize corporate governance and improve prosocial firm behavior, including the promotion of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. In new research, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, and Yoon-Ho Alex Lee find evidence that the exact opposite took place.
Kroger and Albertsons say they need to merge to compete with Walmart. Claire Kelloway argues that what they really want is Walmart’s monopsony power, and permitting mergers on these grounds will only harm suppliers, workers, and consumers.
Does an inventor’s political identity influence their productivity? In a new paper, Joseph Engelberg, Runjing Lu, William Mullins, and Richard Townsend examine the impacts of the 2008 and 2016 United States presidential elections on Democrat and Republican inventors, with a particular focus on the quantity and quality of patents after the country elects a new president.
Seventeen former chief economists of the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division urge current Agency heads to separate the legal and economic analysis in the draft Merger Guidelines to strengthen the role of the latter in merger review.
Grocers Kroger and Albertsons want to merge, which would make them the second biggest retail food chain and, according to them, enhance their ability to compete with Walmart and Costco and offer lower prices to consumers. Christine P. Bartholomew writes that the promises of more competition and lower prices for consumers are unlikely to manifest, and thus the Federal Trade Commission should block the deal.
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