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The Architecture for Health Care Markets: Economic Sociology and Antitrust Law


Peter J. Hammer


Wayne State University Law School


Wayne State University Law School Research Paper No. 07-40
Houston Journal of Health Law and Policy, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
Why an economic sociology of health care markets? Surprisingly, while neoclassical economics has well-developed models of competition, it has a fairly impoverished understanding of markets. If economists treat the firm as a black box, the same is equally true of the market. Without a better theory of health care markets and how public and private elements interact, judges will be constrained in their ability to formulate workable antitrust policy, and legislators will be constrained in their ability to formulate a more rational competition policy. Much of my past work has sought answers to these questions looking, as an economist and antitrust lawyer, from the inside out. This essay is an effort to examine health care markets from the outside in, through the lens of economic sociology, rather than traditional economic theory. The principal aid in this process will be Neil Fligstein's book, "The Architecture of Markets: An Economic Sociology of Twenty-First-Century Capitalist Societies". The analysis proceeds as follows: Drawing upon Fligstein's insights, Part II highlights four general fallacies of neoclassical economic understandings of markets (fallacies, at least, from a sociological perspective). Part III uses the tools of economic sociology to construct an architecture of health care markets. Part IV considers the implications of the foregoing on three issues that are significant to the future of medical antitrust law: What are the implications for efforts to construct a competition policy in health care? What are the implications for efforts to better cultivate dynamic efficiency? Finally, what are the implications of economic sociology for the antitrust state action immunity doctrine, the principal tool courts use to police the boundary between the public and private sides of economic markets?

Number of Pages in PDF File: 44

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Date posted: November 27, 2007 ; Last revised: November 30, 2007

Suggested Citation

Hammer, Peter J., The Architecture for Health Care Markets: Economic Sociology and Antitrust Law. Wayne State University Law School Research Paper No. 07-40; Houston Journal of Health Law and Policy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1032894

Contact Information

Peter Joseph Hammer (Contact Author)
Wayne State University Law School ( email )
471 Palmer
Detroit, MI 48202
United States
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