A key distinction in economic viewpoints that goes oft-unnoticed is between pro-business and pro-market. A good bellwether to where someone stands on the pro-business/market continuum is his/her stance on antitrust policy: pro-business usually favors incumbents, while pro-market calls for aggressive antitrust enforcement to facilitate competition.
“I would not dispute that even a monopoly-ridden market would be preferable to any economic system trying to operate without any kind of a market. But given the prevalence or the danger of substantial intrusion of monopoly into the market, the logic of the laissez faire defense of the market against state-intervention collapses and there is called for instead, by its very logic, state-suppression or state-regulation of monopoly practices, which one may wish to call, as Henry Simons called it, an instance of “positive laissez faire” or, as I prefer, as an instance of deliberate departure from laissez faire.” Jacob Viner – The Intellectual History of Laissez Faire (1960)
Christian Bergqvist has identified 100-plus antitrust cases against Google spanning 23 jurisdictions and classifies them by the service in question and its alleged harms. Most of these fall within eight groups. Bergqvist’s analysis provides a picture of recent shifts in antitrust enforcers’ regulation of Big Tech and the potentially transformative consequences for Google and the entire tech industry.
A federal judge recently blocked the proposed merger of JetBlue and Spirit airlines on antitrust grounds, reversing antitrust enforcers’ recent history of waving through airline industry consolidation. However, while this decision affirms that mergers designed to reduce competition and raise prices violate antitrust law, it comes too late to undo the damage from 15 years of lax enforcement that allowed radical consolidation in the airline industry.
Why has antitrust enforcement declined in the United States since the 1970s? Is it due to the preferences of voters, business influence, or an alternative explanation altogether? In this symposium, Jonathan Baker, Eleanor Fox, and Herbert Hovenkamp discuss the findings of Filippo Lancieri, Eric Posner, and Luigi Zingales’ new paper, “The Political Economy of the Decline of Antitrust Enforcement in the United States.” In this article, Posner responds to the discussants' critiques and comments.
The Senate has introduced two bills to address ticketing transparency and competition in the live events industry. While the bills followed on the heels of Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s mishandling of the Taylor Swift Eras Tour, the problems go back much further. Diana Moss argues that the most recent bill, the Fans First Act, while well-intentioned, risks undermining competition by hamstringing the resale market, which will only strengthen Ticketmaster’s monopoly.
Business and economic thought instituted at least since the Reagan revolution in the United States have promoted firms’ narrowly self-interested, profit-maximizing conduct even at the expense of consumers and workers. This paradigm leads to social distrust and insufficient cooperation. Steven C. Salop explains this distortion and proposes 10 guidelines by which firms can self-moderate their behavior to produce prosocial outcomes.
Why has antitrust enforcement declined in the United States since the 1970s? Is it due to the preferences of voters, business influence, or an alternative explanation altogether? In this symposium, Jonathan Baker, Eleanor Fox, and Herbert Hovenkamp discuss the findings of Filippo Lancieri, Eric Posner, and Luigi Zingales’ new paper, “The Political Economy of the Decline of Antitrust Enforcement in the United States.” In this article, Baker critiques the big business capture theory the authors develop and suggests an alternative “settlement” theory to explain the shift toward weaker antitrust enforcement that began in the 1970s.
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.
In contrast to a recent paper that argues the decline in antitrust enforcement over recent decades is due largely to the political influence of big business, Herbert Hovenkamp argues that small businesses and trade associations have historically had more influence over antitrust policy, often lobbying for less competition and higher prices.
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.
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.
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