The Warren Campaign’s Antitrust Proposals

The Regulatory Review (March 2019)

U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 19-14

5 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2019 Last revised: 29 Mar 2019

See all articles by Herbert Hovenkamp

Herbert Hovenkamp

University of Pennsylvania Law School; University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School; University College London

Date Written: March 25, 2019


Antitrust policy promises to be an important issue in the 2020 presidential election, and for good reason. Market power measured by price-cost margins has been on the rise since the 1980s. Presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren has two proposals directed at large tech platforms. One would designate large platform markets such as Amazon “platform utilities,” and prohibit them from selling their own merchandise on the platform in competition with other retailers. The other proposes more aggressive enforcement against large platform acquisitions of smaller companies.

This paper concludes that the first proposal is anticompetitive, leading to reduced output and higher prices at the expense of consumers and labor, and for the benefit of traditional trademarked brands. The second proposal has some merit but needs more careful definition. As stated, it would condemn mergers likely to result in lower prices and higher output, mainly for the benefit of firms dedicated to obsolete technologies or business methods.

Keywords: Antitrust, High Technology, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Presidential Election

Suggested Citation

Hovenkamp, Herbert, The Warren Campaign’s Antitrust Proposals (March 25, 2019). The Regulatory Review (March 2019), U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 19-14, Available at SSRN:

Herbert Hovenkamp (Contact Author)

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University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

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University College London ( email )

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