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)
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.
Pablo Balán explains that family ties provide firms with an edge in collective action that enables them to be politically active through campaign donations, to engage in financial rent-seeking by obtaining subsidized state credit, and to bypass regulation seeking to curtail the influence of business by substituting individual contributions for corporate contributions. Scholars and advocates can benefit from a deeper understanding of organizational constraints to programmatic reform.
Accounting firm Price Waterhouse Cooper was recently forced to sell its government consulting business after using privileged information to help firms evade taxes. Richard Holden examines the scandal and explains why the response from the Australian Tax Office points to regulatory capture by the big 4 accounting firms.
Vertical merger law lacks the structural presumption of horizontal merger law, which shifts the burden from the government to the merging parties to provide evidence that a merger will not produce anticompetitive effects when it is known that the merger will substantially increase market concentration. To improve Guideline 6 of the draft Merger Guidelines concerning vertical foreclosure, Steven Salop develops a three-factor criteria with which the government antitrust agencies can show an analogous structural “inference” that shifts the burden of evidence to the merging parties.
Xerox invented modern copier technology and was so successful that its brand name became a verb. In 1972, U.S. antitrust authorities charged Xerox with monopolization and eventually ordered the licensing of all its copier-related patents. As new research by Robin Mamrak shows, this antitrust intervention promoted subsequent innovation in the copier industry, but only among Japanese competitors. Nevertheless, their innovations benefited U.S. consumers.
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.
In new research, Cyril Hédoin and Alexandre Chirat use the rational-choice theory of economist Anthony Downs to explain how populism rationally arises to challenge established institutions of liberal democracy.
In a new paper, Bing Guo, Dennis C. Hutschenreiter, David Pérez-Castrillo, and Anna Toldrà-Simats study how large institutional investors impact firm innovation. The authors find that large institutional investors encourage internal research and development but discourage firm acquisitions that would add patents and knowledge to their firms’ portfolios, hampering overall innovation.
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.
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