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Antitrust for High-Tech and Low: Regulation, Innovation, and Risk

Ronald A. Cass

Center for the Rule of Law; Cass & Associates, PC; Boston University School of Law

October 11, 2012

ICER Working Paper No. 12/2012
Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 12-50

Severe limitations on antitrust enforcement officials’ knowledge and the potential impact of ill-advised investigations and prosecutions on markets suggest that officials should exercise extraordinary caution in enforcement of restraints on single-firm conduct. Although it is common to depict antitrust enforcement as protecting market competition while other forms of regulation are seen as intrusions (justifiable or not) into market operation, antitrust enforcement has characteristics and risks similar to other forms of regulation. Government antitrust enforcement can be especially problematic, as it requires discretionary selection among an extraordinary range of possible targets, imposes significant burdens on companies that are under investigation or subject to suit, invites efforts by individual firms to motivate officials to deploy resources against rivals, and can seriously disrupt competition among firms. Antitrust authorities need to exercise special care in making enforcement decisions respecting conduct of individual dominant firms in high-technology industries, where antitrust enforcers’ abilities to understand and predict industry evolution are most limited and where enforcement actions are most likely to rest on debatable predicates about the effects of specific conduct. This article examines government enforcement decisions respecting four prior targets and draws lessons for enforcement going forward.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 37

JEL Classification: D73, K20, K21, K40, L20, L40, L41

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Date posted: October 12, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Cass, Ronald A., Antitrust for High-Tech and Low: Regulation, Innovation, and Risk (October 11, 2012). ICER Working Paper No. 12/2012; Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 12-50. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2160321 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2160321

Contact Information

Ronald A. Cass (Contact Author)
Center for the Rule of Law ( email )
9907 Georgetown Pike
Suite 148
Great Falls, VA 22066
United States
703-438-8832 (Phone)
Cass & Associates, PC ( email )
10560 Fox Forest Drive
Great Falls, VA 22066
United States
703-438-7590 (Phone)
703-438-7591 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.cassassociates.net
Boston University School of Law ( email )
765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
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