Why Does the Consumer Welfare Standard Work? Matching Methods to Markets

Competition Policy International Antitrust Chronicle (2019)

8 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2019

See all articles by James Bernard

James Bernard

Analysis Group, Inc.

Rebecca Kirk Fair

Analysis Group

D. Daniel Sokol

USC Gould School of Law; USC Marshall School of Business

Date Written: November 20, 2019

Abstract

We suggest that consumer welfare is the appropriate standard for antitrust analysis across an array of industries. Unlike critiques that treat consumer welfare as a caricature within a simplistic early-1970s framework of “Chicago School” economics, we suggest that consumer welfare, as understood today, adapts to changes in economic thinking and industry dynamics. Changes in economics lead to different legal presumptions. When shifts occur in economic understanding, this may lead to a reevaluation of the legal presumption underlying the behavior in question and the potential need for a more nuanced treatment of certain conduct under the rule of reason. Because economic analysis allows for more precision and objectivity than "fairness," we believe that it is important to highlight case examples that show how economic analysis has shifted over time in ways that both promote enforcement and limit enforcement. All too often, the populist narratives of antitrust overlook such flexibility and the evolution in economic thinking, where practitioners have applied new theories and approaches to new settings.

Keywords: antitrust, competition policy, industrial organization

JEL Classification: L40, k21

Suggested Citation

Bernard, James and Kirk Fair, Rebecca and Sokol, D. Daniel, Why Does the Consumer Welfare Standard Work? Matching Methods to Markets (November 20, 2019). Competition Policy International Antitrust Chronicle (2019), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3490353

James Bernard

Analysis Group, Inc. ( email )

111 Huntington Avenue
10th floor
Boston, MA 02199
United States

Rebecca Kirk Fair

Analysis Group ( email )

111 Huntington Avenue
10th floor
Boston, MA 02199
United States

D. Daniel Sokol (Contact Author)

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

USC Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA California 90089
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
168
Abstract Views
855
Rank
267,291
PlumX Metrics