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)
Simcha Barkai describes the results of new research on the impact of antitrust on U.S. economic activity with co-authors Tania Babina, Jessica Jeffers, Ezra Karger, and Ekaterina Volkova. Enforcement, they find, increases the level of economic activity.
Corporate America makes sport of gaming the tax authorities, especially after decades of budget cuts to the IRS. What dominant corporations make by hiring expensive tax and lobby teams to distort the rules in their favor, smaller businesses, workers, and the general public are forced to cover with higher taxes and worsened services. Competition shouldn’t hinge on who has more pull over the tax rules and how they’re enforced. Decisions made over the next year to modernize the IRS present a historic opportunity to shape a less entrenched and more competitive economy, writes Niko Lusiani.
In new research, Mariana Pargendler, Maria Luiza Mesquita, and Lucas Víspico study how antitrust authorities in the Global South have used family ties to define business enterprises and analyze mergers and acquisitions for possibly anticompetitive behavior.
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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