The Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State hosted its annual antitrust and competition conference in late April. The following is a transcript of Nobel Laureate Oliver Hart's interview with ProMarket Managing Editor Brooke Fox.
In new research, Enghin Atalay, Alan Sorensen, Christopher Sullivan, and Wanjia Zhu find that mergers and acquisitions often lead to the merged firm offering less product variety than when the two firms operated pre-merger.
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.
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