Will the FTC’s Success Continue?

19 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2018

See all articles by Timothy J. Muris

Timothy J. Muris

George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School

Date Written: September 24, 2018


The FTC has enjoyed great success for decades, and I address four topics here in this paper presented at the opening session of the FTC’s “Hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.” First, what durable success means for an agency like the FTC. Then, the vision I shared with my friend and predecessor as FTC Chairman, Robert Pitofsky, reflected in the second ABA Kirkpatrick Commission, that has helped lead to the agency’s success. Next, I consider recent challenges to that vision, in both competition and consumer protection, from two “p’s,” paternalism in consumer protection and populism in antitrust. Both of these “isms” once dominated FTC work, particularly in the 1970s, with disastrous consequences for consumers and the FTC. Finally, I debunk the shibboleth that an economic cult based in the University of Chicago somehow dominates FTC thinking, particularly in antitrust.

Keywords: Federal Trade Commission, competition, consumer protection, antitrust

JEL Classification: K2, K20, K21, K23, L4, L40

Suggested Citation

Muris, Timothy J., Will the FTC’s Success Continue? (September 24, 2018). George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 18-35, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3254294 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3254294

Timothy J. Muris (Contact Author)

George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School ( email )

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Arlington, VA 22201
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703-993-9421 (Phone)
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