Obama's Antitrust Agenda
Daniel A. Crane
University of Michigan Law School
September 17, 2009
U of Michigan Public Law Working Paper No. 165
U of Michigan Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 09-022
The new administration has made a splash over antitrust, with a high-profile withdrawal of the Bush Administration’s report on monopolistic offenses, the suggestion that lax antitrust enforcement may have contributed to the economic crisis, and an announcement of a more vigorous attitude toward antitrust enforcement. Yet Obama’s antitrust ambitions face at least three serious obstacles. First, the federal courts continue to be dominated by Chicago School and Harvard School judges who, in combination, regularly hand down defeats to antitrust plaintiffs. Second, history teaches that during times of economic crisis antitrust enforcement almost invariably moves to the back burner, whatever the administration in office. Finally, the post-Chicago theories that would ostensibly support an antitrust reinvigoration remain largely unproven and untested. In order to be successful in their antitrust ambitions, Obama’s antitrust enforcers will need to overcome the institutional concerns that animate both the Chicago and Harvard Schools, buck the trends of history, and provide more robust support for post-Chicago theories.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: Obama Administration, antitrust enforcement
JEL Classification: K21
Date posted: September 19, 2009 ; Last revised: October 8, 2009
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