After Consumer Welfare, Now What? The ‘Protection of Competition’ Standard in Practice

The Journal of the Competition Policy International, 2018

Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-608

12 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2018 Last revised: 6 Nov 2018

See all articles by Tim Wu

Tim Wu

Columbia University - Law School

Date Written: April 5, 2018

Abstract

The consumer welfare standard in antitrust has been heavily criticized. But would, in fact, abandoning the “consumer welfare” standard make the antitrust law too unworkable and indeterminate?

I argue that there is such a thing as a post-consumer welfare antitrust that is practicable and arguably as predictable as the consumer welfare standard. In practice, the consumer welfare standard has not set a high bar. The leading alternative standard, the “protection of competition” is at least as predictable, and arguably more determinate than the exceeding abstract abstract consumer welfare test, while being much truer the legislative intent underlying the antitrust laws. More concretely, we should return to asking, in most antitrust cases, the following question: Given a suspect conduct (or merger): Is this merely part of the competitive process, or is it meant to “suppress or even destroy competition?” This standard actually already forms a part of antitrust doctrine. What changes is eliminating “consumer welfare” as a final or necessary consideration in every case.

Suggested Citation

Wu, Tim, After Consumer Welfare, Now What? The ‘Protection of Competition’ Standard in Practice (April 5, 2018). The Journal of the Competition Policy International, 2018; Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-608. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3249173

Tim Wu (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
369
Abstract Views
1,048
rank
79,437
PlumX Metrics