The Anticompetitive Effects of Vertical Most-Favored-Nation Restraints and the Error of Amex
15 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2019 Last revised: 27 Mar 2019
Date Written: February 1, 2019
This paper illustrates the underlying economic logic behind the anticompetitive effects of what Ralph Winter and I have labeled vertical most favored nation restraints in Carlton and Winter (2018). Those are restraints in which one supplier tells a retailer that the retailer cannot set the retail price of its product higher than that of a rival, even if its wholesale price is higher than that of its rival. I explain the possible anti-competitive effect of such restraints. I then apply the reasoning to credit cards and finally, using the economic framework developed, explain the economic errors in the Court’s recent Amex decision.
Keywords: Antitrust, Most-Favored-Nation Restraints, American Express
JEL Classification: L00, L14, L22, L40, L41, L42, L49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation