The Antitrust Emperor's Clothes
7 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2002
Antitrust policy over the last 25 years can claim substantial achievements: the stated terms of the debate have shifted to consumer welfare and efficiency; the 1982 and subsequent Merger Guidelines and the Hart-Scott-Rodino review process provide safe havens, comparative predictability, and effective protection against suits filed after a deal is done; and large-firm monopolization cases have become less frequent, though the Microsoft case represents a notable exception. However, antitrust policy is still not founded on a solid empirical understanding of its effects in practice, and the bipartisan consensus under the Clinton and Bush administrations has allowed a partial return to the policies of the 1970s with benefits that are speculative at best.
Keywords: antitrust, microsoft, monopoly, merger
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