Confidentiality Agreements Can Act Like Noncompetes

Noncompete agreements, which impose contractual limits on an employee’s ability to work after leaving a job, are regulated or banned in all states. But employers can potentially get around legal limitations on noncompetes by asking workers to sign confidentiality agreements that have similar functional effects. In a new article, Camilla A. Hrdy and Christopher B. Seaman provide empirical evidence that a significant number of employment agreements contain broad confidentiality provisions that place noncompete-like restrictions on workers.

The Political Economy of the Decline of Antitrust Enforcement in the US

Why has antitrust enforcement declined in the United States since the 1970s? Is it due to the preferences of voters or business influence? In this symposium, Jonathan Baker, Eleanor Fox, and Herbert Hovenkamp will discuss the findings of Eric Posner, Luigi Zingales and Filippo Lancieri’s new paper, “The Political Economy of the Decline of Antitrust Enforcement in the United States.” Lancieri summarizes the findings of the paper here.

Firms Sharing Board Members Can Collude To Reduce Worker Mobility

In new research, Taylor Begley, Peter Haslag, and Daniel Weagley find that when firms begin sharing a common director, there is a significant reduction in the number of employees that switch jobs between the two companies. The reduction is largest when the firms compete in the same labor market and for those employees who are most costly for firms to replace. The results show the link between overlapping board members and anticompetitive labor practices is a surprisingly widespread phenomenon.

The Economic Consequences of Political Pressure on the Federal Reserve

Politicians often interfere with central banks, but it is not clear how to measure such political pressure systematically and therefore difficult to quantify its economic consequences. In new research, Thomas Drechsel finds that political pressure strongly and persistently raises inflation and inflation expectations but has little impact on economic activity.

Global Giants Team Up to Control Trade Policy

Hao Zhang examines how global value chain partnerships among large, monopolistic firms in the US enable new forms of political coordination and coalition-building to influence trade policy in their favor, despite popular backlash against globalization.

Antitrust Needs To Draw on Computer Science To Detect Algorithmic Collusion

In new research, Giovanna Massarotto explains how collusion manifests differently in the digital economy. She argues that antitrust regulators, scholars, and courts need to incorporate lessons from computer science to update how they monitor markets and identify algorithmic collusion.

The Pervasive Influence of Political Affiliation on Circuit Court Decisions

In new research, Alma Cohen finds that the political affiliations of Circuit Court judges influence decisions in a much wider variety of cases than previously thought.

How Stricter Merger Guidelines Benefit Workers

Stricter merger policy guidelines will increase competition, leading to higher wages and welfare for workers, writes Kyle Herkenhoff and Simon Mongey. The authors use economic modeling to show that the stricter 2023 Guidelines will improve worker welfare, and that even tighter thresholds can be applied to labor markets to amplify worker welfare gains from antitrust policy.

Antitrust Scholarship Must Start Taking Predictability Seriously

Academic writings on the optimal design of antitrust rules fail to pay sufficient attention to enforcement predictability as a relevant factor. In new research, Jan Broulík analyzes the various ways in which predictability is disregarded and their possible underlying reasons.

How Indian Pharma Can Become Global Leaders

Madan Dhanora, Mohd Shadab Danish, and Ruchi Sharma review the history of the Indian government’s efforts to encourage innovation, how these efforts have manifested in the national pharmaceutical industry, and what steps the government can take to further improve innovation.

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