Antitrust Time Travel: Entry & Potential Competition

Antitrust Law Journal (Forthcoming)

U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2022-09

50 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2022 Last revised: 1 Dec 2022

See all articles by Sean Sullivan

Sean Sullivan

University of Iowa College of Law

Henry Su

Bradley Arant Rose & White LLP

Date Written: October 13, 2022

Abstract

Entry defenses and potential competition doctrine have much in common. Both draw from predictions about future entry. Both demand difficult assessments of entry barriers and incentives. And both suffer from confused thinking today. This Article offers a clarifying perspective. Rather than focus on matters of litigation posture (who wins or loses if an argument is proved) we look to the type of analytical time travel being performed. Corrective entry defenses and actual potential competition theories involve exercises in forward time travel: reasoning about how future entry will impact future competition. Preventative entry defenses and perceived potential competition theories involve exercises in backward time travel: reasoning about how threats of future entry impact current competition. Grouping theories in this way reveals analytical flaws and unprincipled asymmetries in current thinking. It also exposes problems and paradoxes that beset all time travel arguments in antitrust analysis.

Keywords: entry, potential competition, time travel, economics, antitrust

JEL Classification: K21, C72, L13

Suggested Citation

Sullivan, Sean and Su, Henry, Antitrust Time Travel: Entry & Potential Competition (October 13, 2022). Antitrust Law Journal (Forthcoming), U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2022-09, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4088860 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4088860

Sean Sullivan (Contact Author)

University of Iowa College of Law ( email )

Melrose and Byington
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sean-p-sullivan.com

Henry Su

Bradley Arant Rose & White LLP

1133 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Twelfth Floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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