Antitrust's Curse of Bigness Problem

24 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2020 Last revised: 4 May 2020

See all articles by D. Daniel Sokol

D. Daniel Sokol

USC Gould School of Law; USC Marshall School of Business

Date Written: March 15, 2020


Tim Wu’s most recent book, The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the Gilded Age, is an attempt to reframe contemporary antitrust debates by returning antitrust to its more populist roots. Given the global implications of his ideas and policy proposals (including breakup of tech platforms) for many of the large corporations that he takes on, The Curse of Bigness offers profound insights for how society and business should be organized. The first part of this Review summarizes Wu’s major claims. It then highlights some of his critiques as to “bigness,” the multiple goals of antitrust, and the missed opportunities as to cases that should have been or need to be brought, such as against tech companies. Some of Wu’s critiques are spot on in identifying missed opportunities, like a number of horizontal mergers that should have been challenged. Where Wu’s book suffers is where he undervalues the institutional structure of antitrust law, underplays what antitrust does well as a substantive matter, and misanalyzes antitrust and tech platforms.

Keywords: antitrust, digital platforms, mergers, tech, innovation

JEL Classification: k21, l40

Suggested Citation

Sokol, D. Daniel, Antitrust's Curse of Bigness Problem (March 15, 2020). 118 Michigan Law Review (forthcoming, 2020), University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper No. 20-12, Available at SSRN:

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

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