Antitrust and Race

62 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2022 Last revised: 7 Jun 2023

See all articles by Hiba Hafiz

Hiba Hafiz

Boston College Law School

Date Written: February 10, 2022

Abstract

Antitrust law regulates the consolidation and abuse of economic power. Its task is to ensure that market success is not rigged to favor undeserving winners against excluded competitors in ways that increase prices and reduce quality to consumers or reduce wages, benefits, and workplace quality for workers. But for its entire enforcement and doctrinal history, antitrust regulators and courts have built a legal infrastructure that assesses the aggregation and exercise of economic power and its adverse effects as if that power and its effects were “color blind.” In fact, corporate concentration, firm dominance, and anticompetitive conduct are not only sources of structural racism, but the regulatory tools to combat them have reinforced racial inequality and disparately impacted people of color.

This Article provides a comprehensive overview of antitrust and racial inequality. It first explains how firms’ dominance and anticompetitive conduct have rigged market access and harmed consumers and workers in ways that create and perpetuate racial inequality. It then details how antitrust enforcers’ and courts’ “color-blind” approach to competition concerns have not only ignored the realities of racial inequality but reinforced them. Finally, it proposes a suite of administrative, legislative, and doctrinal reforms to integrate analysis of race in antitrust enforcement and doctrine, from market definition and merger review analysis to assessments of the anticompetitive effects and procompetitive benefits of firms’ agreements and conduct.

Keywords: Antitrust Law, Inequality, Racial Inequality

Suggested Citation

Hafiz, Hiba, Antitrust and Race (February 10, 2022). Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 578, Washington University Law Review, Vol. 100, No. 5, 2023, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4031809

Hiba Hafiz (Contact Author)

Boston College Law School ( email )

885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States

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