Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1113927
 
 

Citations (3)



 
 

Footnotes (240)



 


 



The Fundamental Goal of Antitrust: Protecting Consumers, Not Increasing Efficiency


John B. Kirkwood


Seattle University School of Law

Robert H. Lande


University of Baltimore - School of Law


Notre Dame Law Review, Vol. 84, 2008
Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 09-02

Abstract:     
The conventional wisdom in the antitrust community is that the purpose of the antitrust laws is to promote economic efficiency. That view is incorrect. As this article shows, the fundamental goal of antitrust law is to protect consumers.

This article defines the relevant economic concepts, summarizes the legislative histories, analyzes recent case law in more depth than any prior article, and explores the most likely bases for current popular support of the antitrust laws. All these factors indicate that the ultimate goal of antitrust is not to increase the total wealth of society, but to protect consumers from behavior that deprives them of the benefits of competition. When conduct presents a conflict between protecting consumers and improving the efficiency of the economy (e.g., a merger that raises prices but reduces costs), no court in recent years has chosen efficiency over consumer protection.

The only exception is the law's determination to protect small sellers from price fixing and other anticompetitive behavior by buyers. This limited concern, however, is just the mirror image of Congress' desire to protect consumers from exploitation. In both buy-side and sell-side cases, the overarching goal is the same - preventing firms that have unfairly acquired power from imposing noncompetitive prices or other terms on their trading partners, thereby transferring wealth from the trading partners to themselves. This conclusion supports a more aggressive approach to many areas of antitrust enforcement, including mergers and joint ventures.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 55

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: March 28, 2008 ; Last revised: December 7, 2009

Suggested Citation

Kirkwood, John B. and Lande, Robert H., The Fundamental Goal of Antitrust: Protecting Consumers, Not Increasing Efficiency. Notre Dame Law Review, Vol. 84, 2008; Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 09-02. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1113927

Contact Information

John B. Kirkwood (Contact Author)
Seattle University School of Law ( email )
901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

Robert H. Lande
University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )
1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 3,681
Downloads: 918
Download Rank: 12,161
Citations:  3
Footnotes:  240

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo8 in 0.469 seconds