Antitrust House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Subcommittee Testimony
30 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 4, 2020
Much of the competition policy discussion today centers around goals of antitrust. Until recently, the only antitrust goals discussed in the US were economic ones. Anyone who thought otherwise was on the fringe and often discounted both academically and within policy circles. Yet today, the goals of antitrust once again have become the subject of debate due to a concatenation of events. Growing populism on both the left and right in the United States and globally; a number of studies showing increased income inequality and increased concentration; digital transformations across industries that disrupt traditional ways of organizing economic activity and life more generally; trends towards protectionism and economic sovereignty; and the lingering effects of the Great Recession in some countries all have caused people in policy settings, some antitrust authorities, and some scholars to question whether an economics-based goal focused on effects to consumer and competition (which for shorthand I call the “consumer welfare” standard) is relevant and whether competition can be used to achieve particular results.
This testimony before the House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Subcommittee covers the following topics:
The Importance of Economic Analysis and Antitrust Common Law
Fairness in Antitrust
Antitrust and “Tech”
Bipartisan support for economic analysis in antitrust
Courts have expressly embraced economic analysis
Antitrust Non-Price Enforcement
Antitrust history offers an example of what political antitrust can do (badly)
Merger thresholds are adequate
Agencies, guided by economic analysis, do a good job given the overall uncertainty of addressing mergers
Are tech acquisitions different for start ups?
How should we think about vertical mergers?
Agencies should not be duplicative of investigations into the same companies
Agencies should invest in more tech knowledge
Agencies need to better understand the value of different types of platforms
More money invested in competition advocacy
Keywords: antitrust, competition law, monopolization, mergers, exclusionary conduct, tech, platforms, Robinson Patman, institutional design
JEL Classification: K21, K41, K42, l12, l4, l40, l41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation