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Antitrust and Trade Regulation

University of Michigan Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Researching Antitrust Law, Keith Lacy Jan 2024

Researching Antitrust Law, Keith Lacy

Law Librarian Scholarship

Antitrust is a dynamic area of law subject to rapid change. It is highly sensitive to the attitudes of regulators and market conditions, always looking forward to how decisions made today will affect businesses and the lives of individual consumers. Current events — and passionate consumers, or fans — can incur “Swift” antitrust scrutiny, as Live Nation Entertainment discovered recently.

Yet it is inextricably linked to more abstract considerations. The term “antitrust” is itself archaic, reflecting animosity to a business practice innovated by Standard Oil in 1882. Understanding the history of antitrust actions often requires understanding something of history broadly …


Valuing Social Data, Amanda Parsons, Salomé Viljoen Aug 2023

Valuing Social Data, Amanda Parsons, Salomé Viljoen

Law & Economics Working Papers

Social data production is a unique form of value creation that characterizes informational capitalism. Social data production also presents critical challenges for the various legal regimes that are encountering it. This Article provides legal scholars and policymakers with the tools to comprehend this new form of value creation through two descriptive contributions. First, it presents a theoretical account of social data, a mode of production which is cultivated and exploited for two distinct (albeit related) forms of value: prediction value and exchange value. Second, it creates and defends a taxonomy of three “scripts” that companies follow to build up and …


Gotta Get Those Ill-Gotten Gains: Improving The Ftc's Authority To Seek Disgorgement In Antitrust Cases, Kathryn Buggs May 2023

Gotta Get Those Ill-Gotten Gains: Improving The Ftc's Authority To Seek Disgorgement In Antitrust Cases, Kathryn Buggs

Michigan Law Review

Disgorgement is an equitable monetary remedy that requires a defendant to give up all ill-gotten gains from their illegal conduct. Unlike damages, which can be compensatory, deterrent, or even punitive in nature, disgorgement focuses primarily on deterring future illegal conduct. It relies on the simple moral premise that wrongdoers should not be allowed to retain the profits of their wrongdoing. Especially in antitrust litigation involving complex, multilayered supply chains, damages can underestimate the true harm suffered as a result of anticompetitive conduct. Disgorgement, if calculated properly and litigated thoughtfully, has the potential to provide redress for the full amount of …


Race-Ing Antitrust, Bennett Capers, Gregory Day Feb 2023

Race-Ing Antitrust, Bennett Capers, Gregory Day

Michigan Law Review

Antitrust law has a race problem. To spot an antitrust violation, courts inquire into whether an act has degraded consumer welfare. Since anticompetitive practices are often assumed to enhance consumer welfare, antitrust offenses are rarely found. Key to this framework is that antitrust treats all consumers monolithically; that consumers are differently situated, especially along lines of race, simply is ignored.

We argue that antitrust law must disaggregate the term “consumer” to include those who disproportionately suffer from anticompetitive practices via a community welfare standard. As a starting point, we demonstrate that anticompetitive conduct has specifically been used as a tool …


Why Do Corporations Merge And Why Should Law Care?, Chris Sagers Jan 2023

Why Do Corporations Merge And Why Should Law Care?, Chris Sagers

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Mergers and acquisitions are extraordinarily prevalent in the United States, generating massive expenditures every year. However, a serious empirical puzzle lies at the heart of all that activity. That empirical phenomenon’s most remarkable feature by far is that even though it is well established in an extensive literature and implies far-reaching policy consequences, American law ignores it entirely.

Generations of researchers have failed to find evidence that merger and acquisition activity generates any lasting benefits for the combining firms’ owners or anyone else. No one seriously doubts that efficiencies of scale or technological integration are real or that acquisitions sometimes …


The Death Of Amateurism In The Ncaa: How The Ncaa Can Survive The New Economic Reality Of College Sports, Claire Haws Dec 2022

The Death Of Amateurism In The Ncaa: How The Ncaa Can Survive The New Economic Reality Of College Sports, Claire Haws

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

In October 2019, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced it would be making a major change to its rules: student-athletes would soon be permitted to receive compensation for the use of their name, image and likeness (NIL). The announcement came in response to an increasing volume of state legislation allowing for student-athlete NIL compensation. On July 1, 2021, student-athletes finally had the opportunity to receive NIL benefits as the NCAA’s interim NIL policy went into effect. This change represents a nail in the coffin for traditional notions of amateurism.

For decades, the NCAA defended its rules from antitrust challenges …


Fenceposts Without A Fence, Katherine E. Dr Lucido, Nicholas K. Tabor, Jeffery Y. Zhang Aug 2022

Fenceposts Without A Fence, Katherine E. Dr Lucido, Nicholas K. Tabor, Jeffery Y. Zhang

Articles

Banking organizations in the United States have long been subject to two broad categories of regulatory requirements. The first is permissive: a “positive” grant of rights and privileges, typically via a charter for a corporate entity, to engage in the business of banking. The second is restrictive: a “negative” set of conditions on those rights and privileges, limiting conduct and imposing a program of oversight and enforcement, by which the holder of that charter must abide. Together, these requirements form a legal cordon, or “regulatory perimeter,” around the U.S. banking sector.


On Firms, Sanjukta Paul Aug 2022

On Firms, Sanjukta Paul

Law & Economics Working Papers

This paper is about firms as an instance of economic coordination, and about how we think about them in relation to other forms of coordination as well as in relation to competition and markets. The dominant frame for thinking about firms--which has strongly influenced contemporary competition law as well as serving as a vital adjunct to the fundamental concepts of neoclassical price theory that guide many areas of law and policy--implicitly or explicitly explains and justifies the centralization of both decision-making rights and flows of income from economic activity on productive efficiency grounds. We have very good reasons to doubt …


Criminal Enforcement Of Section 2 Of The Sherman Act: An Empirical Assessment, Daniel A. Crane Jun 2022

Criminal Enforcement Of Section 2 Of The Sherman Act: An Empirical Assessment, Daniel A. Crane

Law & Economics Working Papers

The Biden Justice Department has announced that it may begin to bring criminal monopolization cases under Section 2 of the Sherman Act, a practice that the Department has not employed in almost half a century. The Department's leadership has justified this idea by asserting that it used to be common practice for the Antitrust Division to bring such cases. This Article presents the findings of an empirical study of all of the Justice Department's antitrust case filings. It finds that the Justice Depart brought 175 criminal monopolization cases between 1903 and 1977, but that only 20 of these involved unilateral …


Charting The Reform Path, Sanjukta Paul Apr 2022

Charting The Reform Path, Sanjukta Paul

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Inequality and the Labor Market: The Case for Greater Competition. Edited by Sharon Block and Benjamin H. Harris.


The Impact Of Amex And Its Progeny On Technology Platforms, Kacyn H. Fujii Feb 2022

The Impact Of Amex And Its Progeny On Technology Platforms, Kacyn H. Fujii

Michigan Law Review

Big Tech today faces unprecedented levels of antitrust scrutiny. Yet antitrust enforcement against Big Tech still faces a major obstacle: the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Ohio v. American Express. Popularly called Amex, the case imposed a higher initial burden on antitrust plaintiffs in cases involving two-sided markets. Two-sided markets connect two distinct, noncompeting groups of customers on a shared platform. These platforms have indirect network effects, meaning that one group of customers benefits when more of the second group of customers joins the platform. Two-sided markets are ubiquitous in the technology sector, encompassing social media, search engines, …


Fenceposts Without A Fence, Katherine Di Lucido, Nicholas Kean Tabor, Jeffery Zhang Jan 2022

Fenceposts Without A Fence, Katherine Di Lucido, Nicholas Kean Tabor, Jeffery Zhang

Law & Economics Working Papers

Banking organizations in the United States have long been subject to two broad categories of regulatory requirements. The first is permissive: a “positive” grant of rights and privileges, typically via a charter for a corporate entity, to engage in the business of banking. The second is restrictive: a “negative” set of conditions on those rights and privileges, limiting conduct and imposing a program of oversight and enforcement, by which the holder of that charter must abide. Together, these requirements form a legal cordon, or “regulatory perimeter,” around the U.S. banking sector.

The regulatory perimeter figures prominently in several ongoing policy …


Reviving Antitrust Enforcement In The Airline Industry, Jonathan Edelman Oct 2021

Reviving Antitrust Enforcement In The Airline Industry, Jonathan Edelman

Michigan Law Review

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has broad but oft overlooked power to address antitrust issues among airlines through section 411 of the Federal Aviation Act. However, the DOT’s unwillingness to enforce antitrust more aggressively may be translating into higher fares and fees for airline travelers.

More aggressive antitrust enforcement is urgently needed. Recent research has revealed a widespread practice of common ownership in the airline industry, whereby investment firms own large portions of rival airline companies. Although this practice leads to higher prices and reduced competition, antitrust regulators, from the DOT to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade …


Alston And The Dejudicialization Of Antitrust, Richard D. Friedman Aug 2021

Alston And The Dejudicialization Of Antitrust, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

A curious feature of NCAA v. Alston is the shoe that didn’t drop, at least not immediately. “Put simply,” Justice Gorsuch wrote for a unanimous Court, “this suit involves admitted horizontal price fixing in a market where the defendants exercise monopoly control.” Given that this pronouncement occurred on page fourteen of the Court’s opinion, one might have expected that the opinion would end on, say, page fifteen, for if there has been one fixed point in American antitrust law it has been that horizontal price-fixing, especially but not only by those with monopoly power, is per se illegal. Instead, the …


Taking It With You: Platform Barriers To Entry And The Limits Of Data Portability, Gabriel Nicholas Apr 2021

Taking It With You: Platform Barriers To Entry And The Limits Of Data Portability, Gabriel Nicholas

Michigan Technology Law Review

Policymakers are faced with a vexing problem: how to increase competition in a tech sector dominated by a few giants. One answer proposed and adopted by regulators in the United States and abroad is to require large platforms to allow consumers to move their data from one platform to another, an approach known as data portability. Facebook, Google, Apple, and other major tech companies have enthusiastically supported data portability through their own technical and political initiatives. Today, data portability has taken hold as one of the go-to solutions to address the tech industry’s competition concerns.

This Article argues that despite …


Antitrust Antitextualism, Daniel A. Crane Mar 2021

Antitrust Antitextualism, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Judges and scholars frequently describe antitrust as a common-law system predicated on open-textured statutes, but that description fails to capture a historically persistent phenomenon:judicial disregard of the plain meaning of the statutory texts and manifest purposes of Congress. This pattern of judicial nullification is not evenly distributed: when the courts have deviated from the plain meaning or congressional purpose, they have uniformly done so to limit the reach of antitrust liability or curtail the labor exemption to the benefit of industrial interests. This phenomenon cannot be explained solely or even primarily as a tug-of-war between a progressive Congress and conservative …


Alternative Trading Platforms In The United States: Incentives For Innovation In The Us Stock Market, Gabriel V. Rauterberg Jan 2021

Alternative Trading Platforms In The United States: Incentives For Innovation In The Us Stock Market, Gabriel V. Rauterberg

Book Chapters

Is something wrong with the structure of our stock market? Recent scholarship faults the equity market for its lack of innovation. In particular, commentators stringently criticize the continuous nature of modern trading for baking in a wasteful arms race for speed among high-frequency traders. Under their current structure, stock exchanges process incoming instructions to trade in the order they arrive and as quickly as possible, which means in millionths of a second or less. The result is a race for technological speed because market participants can earn profits from being the first to trade on new information, even when that …


Christianity And Antitrust, Kenneth G. Elzinga, Daniel Crane Jan 2021

Christianity And Antitrust, Kenneth G. Elzinga, Daniel Crane

Book Chapters

The purpose of this chapter is to consider whether the Christian faith has a nexus with the institution of antitrust. It turns out it doesn’t – and it does. For example, Christianity cannot explain why the Herfindahl–Hirschman Index is superior to the four-firm concentration ratio as a measure of industry concentration. Economics can. On the other hand, economics cannot explain why the per se rule against price-fixing is morally appropriate. The Bible can.


Class Actions And Private Antitrust Litigation, Albert H. Choi, Kathryn E. Sprier Sep 2020

Class Actions And Private Antitrust Litigation, Albert H. Choi, Kathryn E. Sprier

Law & Economics Working Papers

When firms collude and charge supra-competitive prices, consumers can bring antitrust lawsuits against the firms. When the litigation cost is low, firms accept the cost as just another cost of doing business, whereas when the cost is high, the firms lower the price to deter litigation. Class action is modeled as a mechanism that allows plaintiffs and attorneys to obtain economies of scale. We show that class actions, and the firms' incentive to block them, may or may not be socially desirable. Agency problems, settlement, fee-shifting, treble damages, public enforcement, and sustaining collusion through repeat play are also considered.


Fascism And Monopoly, Daniel A. Crane May 2020

Fascism And Monopoly, Daniel A. Crane

Michigan Law Review

The recent revival of political interest in antitrust has resurfaced a longstanding debate about the role of industrial concentration and monopoly in enabling Hitler’s rise to power and the Third Reich’s wars of aggression. Proponents of stronger antitrust enforcement argue that monopolies and cartels brought the Nazis to power and warn that rising concentration in the American economy could similarly threaten democracy. Skeptics demur, observing that German big business largely opposed Hitler during the crucial years of his ascent. Drawing on business histories and archival material from the U.S. Office of Military Government’s Decartelization Branch, this Article assesses the historical …


Libra: A Concentrate Of "Blockchain Antitrust", Thibault Schrepel Apr 2020

Libra: A Concentrate Of "Blockchain Antitrust", Thibault Schrepel

Michigan Law Review Online

Blockchains promise to decentralize the economy, bypassing trusts in favor of decentralized communities. The World Economic Forum predicts that 10 percent of the global gross domestic product will be stored on block-chain by 2027. Gartner further prophesizes that blockchain will create $3.1 trillion worth of business value by 2030. Even if that prediction turns out to be too optimistic, blockchain’s legal implications cannot be neglected.


Antitrust's "Curse Of Bigness" Problem, D. Daniel Sokol Jan 2020

Antitrust's "Curse Of Bigness" Problem, D. Daniel Sokol

Michigan Law Review

Review of Tim Wu's The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age.


Ecosystem Competition And The Antitrust Laws, Daniel A. Crane Oct 2019

Ecosystem Competition And The Antitrust Laws, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Conventional antitrust norms analyze market power—as a stepping stone to anticompetitive effects and, hence, prohibited conduct—from the perspective of product substitutability. Two goods or services are said to compete with one another when they are reasonably interchangeable from the perspective of consumers, or to put it in more formal economic terms, when there is cross-elasticity of demand between them. Conversely, when two goods or services are not reasonably interchangeable, they are not horizontally related and are said not to compete with one another. Since a concern over horizontal agreements and horizontal effects dominate antitrust—courts even analyze vertical agreement or merger …


Fascism And Monopoly, Daniel A. Crane Aug 2019

Fascism And Monopoly, Daniel A. Crane

Law & Economics Working Papers

The recent revival of political interest in antitrust has resurfaced a longstanding debate about the role of industrial concentration and monopoly in enabling Hitler’s rise to power and the Third Reich’s wars of aggression. Proponents of stronger antitrust enforcement argue that monopolies and cartels brought the Nazis to power and warn that rising concentration in the American economy could similarly threaten democracy. Skeptics demur, observing that German big business largely opposed Hitler during the crucial years of his ascent. Drawing on business histories and archival material from the U.S. Office of Military Government’s Decartelization Unit, this Article assesses the historical …


Scrutinizing Anticompetitive State Regulations Through Constitutional And Antitrust Lenses, Daniel A. Crane May 2019

Scrutinizing Anticompetitive State Regulations Through Constitutional And Antitrust Lenses, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

State and local regulations that anticompetitively favor certain producers to the detriment of consumers are a pervasive problem in our economy. Their existence is explicable by a variety of structural features—including asymmetry between consumer and producer interests, cost externalization, and institutional and political factors entrenching incumbent technologies. Formulating legal tools to combat such economic parochialism is challenging in the post-Lochner world, where any move toward heightened judicial review of economic regulation poses the perceived threat of a return to economic substantive due process. This Article considers and compares two potential tools for reviewing such regulations—a constitutional principle against anticompetitive parochialism …


Toward A Realistic Comparative Assessment Of Private Antitrust Enforcement, Daniel A. Crane Apr 2019

Toward A Realistic Comparative Assessment Of Private Antitrust Enforcement, Daniel A. Crane

Book Chapters

Over the course of her extraordinary career, Eleanor Fox has contributed in many vital ways to our understanding of the importance of institutional analysis in antitrust and competition law. Most importantly, Eleanor has become the leading repository of knowledge about what is happening around the globe in the field of competition law and its enforcement institutions. At a time when much of the field of antitrust was moving in the direction of theoretical generalization, formal modeling, game theory, and the like, Eleanor tirelessly worked the globe to discover the actual practice of competition law in the world. She left no …


Books And Olive Oil: Why Antitrust Must Deal With Consolidated Corporate Power, Carl T. Bogus Jan 2019

Books And Olive Oil: Why Antitrust Must Deal With Consolidated Corporate Power, Carl T. Bogus

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Following an epic battle in the marketplace between Apple and major book publishers, on one side, and Amazon, on the other side, the United States Department of Justice and thirty-three states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and the publishers, alleging that they had conspired to fix the prices of ebooks. Both the district court and a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided the case in the government’s favor. This Article argues that government regulators and the courts took the wrong side in the dispute and did so because of fundamental flaws …


Home-Field Disadvantage: How The Organization Of Soccer In The United States Affects Athletic And Economic Competitiveness, Carolina I. Velarde Jan 2019

Home-Field Disadvantage: How The Organization Of Soccer In The United States Affects Athletic And Economic Competitiveness, Carolina I. Velarde

Michigan Law Review

The United States men’s soccer team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. In the aftermath, soccer followers questioned the organizational structure supervised by the United States Soccer Federation. An analysis of the relationships between professional soccer leagues reveals potentially anticompetitive practices that may contribute to the subpar performance of the U.S. Men’s National Team. This Note argues that the United States Soccer Federation is engaged in economically anticompetitive behavior that impedes the development of American soccer. Certain reforms, including an open-league system and player transfer fees at the youth development level, would enhance the economic and athletic competitiveness …


Antitrust's Unconventional Politics, Daniel A. Crane Sep 2018

Antitrust's Unconventional Politics, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Antitrust law stands at its most fluid and negotiable moment in a generation. The bipartisan consensus that antitrust should solely focus on economic efficiency and consumer welfare has quite suddenly come under attack from prominent voices calling for a dramatically enhanced role for antitrust law in mediating a variety of social, economic, and political friction points, including employment, wealth inequality, data privacy and security, and democratic values. To the bewilderment of many observers, the ascendant pressures for antitrust reforms are flowing from both wings of the political spectrum, throwing into confusion a conventional understanding that pro-antitrust sentiment tacked left and …


How Meyer V. Uber Could Demonstrate That Uber And The Sharing Economy Fit Into Antitrust Law, Nicholas Andrew Passaro May 2018

How Meyer V. Uber Could Demonstrate That Uber And The Sharing Economy Fit Into Antitrust Law, Nicholas Andrew Passaro

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

Recently, Uber driver (and former Uber CEO) Travis Kalanick has been sued under antitrust laws. The plaintiffs argue that Mr. Kalanick and the other Uber drivers have engaged in a price fixing arrangement that violates §1 of the Sherman Act. The case, Meyer v. Uber (originally Meyer v. Kalanick), is still being litigated. This Comment will analyze each side’s potential arguments and will ultimately conclude that the court should find Uber drivers not guilty of a Sherman Act violation. This determination will be based on: the merits of the various arguments, how such a holding would fit within the …