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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Progressives' Antitrust Toolbox, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2022

The Progressives' Antitrust Toolbox, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The period 1900 to 1930 was the Golden Age of antitrust theory, if not of enforcement. During that period courts and scholars developed nearly all of the tools that we use to this day to assess anticompetitive practices under the federal antitrust laws. In subsequent years antitrust policy veered to both the left and the right, but today seems to be returning to a position quite similar to the one that these Progressive adopted. Their principal contributions were (1) partial equilibrium analysis, which became the basis for concerns about economic concentration, the distinction between short- and long-run analysis, and later ...


Monopolizing And The Sherman Act, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2022

Monopolizing And The Sherman Act, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In one sentence § 2 of the Sherman Act condemns firms who “monopolize,” “attempt to monopolize” or “combine or conspire” to monopolize -- all without explanation. Section 2 is the antitrust law’s only provision that reaches entirely unilateral conduct, although it has often been used to reach collaborative conduct as well. In general, §2 requires greater amounts of individually held market power than do the other antitrust statutes, but it is less categorical about conduct. With one exception, however, the statute reads so broadly that criticisms of the nature that it is outdated cannot be based on faithful readings of the ...


Antitrust Error Costs, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Nov 2021

Antitrust Error Costs, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The idea that consideration of error costs should inform judgments about actions with uncertain consequences is well established. When we act on imperfect information, we consider not only the probability of an event, but also the expected costs of making an error. In 1984 Frank Easterbrook used this idea to rationalize an anti-enforcement bias in antitrust, reasoning that markets are likely to correct monopoly in a relatively short time while judicial errors are likely to persist. As a result, false positives (recognizing a problem when there is none) are more costly than false negatives. While the problem of error cost ...


Addressing The Divisions In Antitrust Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Nov 2021

Addressing The Divisions In Antitrust Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This is the text of an interview conducted in writing by Professor A. Douglas Melamed, Stanford Law School.


Reversing The Fortunes Of Active Funds, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2021

Reversing The Fortunes Of Active Funds, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In 2019, for the first time in the history of U.S. capital markets, passive funds surpassed active funds in terms of total assets under management. The continuous growth of passive funds at the expense of active funds is a genuine cause for concern. Active funds monitor the management and partake of decision-making in their portfolio companies. Furthermore, they improve price efficiency and managerial performance by engaging in informed trading. The buy/sell decisions of active funds provide other market participants reliable information about the quality of firms. The cost of active investing is significant and it is exclusively borne ...


Team Production Revisited, William W. Bratton Jan 2021

Team Production Revisited, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article reconsiders Margaret Blair and Lynn Stout’s team production model of corporate law, offering a favorable evaluation. The model explains both the legal corporate entity and corporate governance institutions in microeconomic terms as the means to the end of encouraging investment, situating corporations within markets and subject to market constraints but simultaneously insisting that productive success requires that corporations remain independent of markets. The model also integrates the inherited framework of corporate law into an economically derived model of production, constructing a microeconomic description of large enterprises firmly rooted in corporate doctrine but neither focused on nor limited ...


Network Effects In Action, Christopher S. Yoo Nov 2020

Network Effects In Action, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Chapter begins by examining and exploring the theoretical and empirical limits of the possible bases of network effects, paying particular attention to the most commonly cited framework known as Metcalfe’s Law. It continues by exploring the concept of network externalities, defined as the positive external consumption benefits that the decision to join a network creates for the other members of the network, which is more ambiguous than commonly realized. It then reviews the structural factors needed for models based on network effects to have anticompetitive effects and identifies other factors that can dissipate those effects. Finally, it identifies ...


Is The Digital Economy Too Concentrated?, Jonathan Klick Nov 2020

Is The Digital Economy Too Concentrated?, Jonathan Klick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Concentration in the digital economy in the United States has sparked loud criticism and spurred calls for wide-ranging reforms. These reforms include everything from increased enforcement of existing antitrust laws, such as challenging more mergers and breaking up firms, to an abandonment of the consumer welfare standard. Critics cite corruption and more systemic public choice problems, while others invoke the populist origins of antitrust to slay the digital Goliaths. On the other side, there is skepticism regarding these arguments. This chapter continues much of that skepticism.


Competitive Harm From Vertical Mergers, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Oct 2020

Competitive Harm From Vertical Mergers, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The antitrust enforcement Agencies' 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines introduce a nontechnical application of bargaining theory into the assessment of competitive effects from vertical acquisitions. The economics of such bargaining is complex and can produce skepticism among judges, who might regard its mathematics as overly technical, its game theory as excessively theoretical or speculative, or its assumptions as unrealistic.

However, we have been there before. The introduction of concentration indexes, particularly the HHI, in the Merger Guidelines was initially met with skepticism but gradually they were accepted as judges became more comfortable with them. The same thing very largely happened again ...


Antitrust: What Counts As Consumer Welfare?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jul 2020

Antitrust: What Counts As Consumer Welfare?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust’s consumer welfare principle is accepted in some form by the entire Supreme Court and the majority of other writers. However, it means different things to different people. For example, some members of the Supreme Court can simultaneously acknowledge the antitrust consumer welfare principle even as they approve practices that result in immediate, obvious, and substantial consumer harm. At the same time, however, a properly defined consumer welfare principle is essential if antitrust is to achieve its statutory purpose, which is to pursue practices that injure competition. The wish to make antitrust a more general social justice statute is ...


Antitrust Harm And Causation, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2020

Antitrust Harm And Causation, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

How should plaintiffs show harm from antitrust violations? The inquiry naturally breaks into two issues: first, what is the nature of the harm? and second, what does proof of causation require? The best criterion for assessing harm is likely or reasonably anticipated output effects. Antitrust’s goal should be output as high as is consistent with sustainable competition.

The standard for proof of causation then depends on two things: the identity of the enforcer and the remedy that the plaintiff is seeking. It does not necessarily depend on which antitrust statute the plaintiff is seeking to enforce. For public agencies ...


On The Meaning Of Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Principle, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2020

On The Meaning Of Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Principle, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This brief essay addresses the ambiguities in the meaning of “consumer welfare” in antitrust, exploring the differences between the Williamson, Bork, and current understanding of that term. After weighing the alternatives it argues that the consumer welfare principle in antitrust should seek out that state of affairs in which output is maximized, consistent with sustainable competition


What’S In Your Wallet (And What Should The Law Do About It?), Natasha Sarin Jan 2020

What’S In Your Wallet (And What Should The Law Do About It?), Natasha Sarin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In traditional markets, firms can charge prices that are significantly elevated relative to their costs only if there is a market failure. However, this is not true in a two-sided market (like Amazon, Uber, and Mastercard), where firms often subsidize one side of the market and generate revenue from the other. This means consideration of one side of the market in isolation is problematic. The Court embraced this view in Ohio v. American Express, requiring that anticompetitive harm on one side of a two-sided market be weighed against benefits on the other side.

Legal scholars denounce this decision, which, practically ...


Framing The Chicago School Of Antitrust Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp, Fiona Scott Morton Jan 2020

Framing The Chicago School Of Antitrust Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp, Fiona Scott Morton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Chicago School of antitrust has benefited from a great deal of law office history, written by admiring advocates rather than more dispassionate observers. This essay attempts a more neutral stance, looking at the ideology, political impulses, and economics that produced the Chicago School of antitrust policy and that account for its durability.

The origins of the Chicago School lie in a strong commitment to libertarianism and nonintervention. Economic models of perfect competition best suited these goals. The early strength of the Chicago School of antitrust was that it provided simple, convincing answers to everything that was wrong with antitrust ...


The Post-Chicago Antitrust Revolution: A Retrospective, Christopher S. Yoo Jan 2020

The Post-Chicago Antitrust Revolution: A Retrospective, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A symposium examining the contributions of the post-Chicago School provides an appropriate opportunity to offer some thoughts on both the past and the future of antitrust. This afterword reviews the excellent papers with an eye toward appreciating the contributions and limitations of both the Chicago School, in terms of promoting the consumer welfare standard and embracing price theory as the preferred mode of economic analysis, and the post-Chicago School, with its emphasis on game theory and firm-level strategic conduct. It then explores two emerging trends, specifically neo-Brandeisian advocacy for abandoning consumer welfare as the sole goal of antitrust and the ...


Is Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Principle Imperiled?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2019

Is Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Principle Imperiled?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust’s consumer welfare principle stands for the proposition that antitrust policy should encourage markets to produce output as high as is consistent with sustainable competition, and prices that are accordingly as low. Such a policy does not protect every interest group. For example, it opposes the interests of cartels or other competition-limiting associations who profit from lower output and higher prices. It also runs counter to the interest of less competitive firms that need higher prices in order to survive. Market structure is relevant to antitrust policy, but its importance is contingent rather than absolute – that is, market structure ...


Prophylactic Merger Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2018

Prophylactic Merger Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

An important purpose of the antitrust merger law is to arrest certain anticompetitive practices or outcomes in their “incipiency.” Many Clayton Act decisions involving both mergers and other practices had recognized the idea as early as the 1920s. In Brown Shoe the Supreme Court doubled down on the idea, attributing to Congress a concern about a “rising tide of economic concentration” that must be halted “at its outset and before it gathered momentum.” The Supreme Court did not explain why an incipiency test was needed to address this particular problem. Once structural thresholds for identifying problematic mergers are identified there ...


Hipster Antitrust: New Bottles, Same Old W(H)Ine?, Christopher S. Yoo Apr 2018

Hipster Antitrust: New Bottles, Same Old W(H)Ine?, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Although the debate over hipster antitrust is often portrayed as something new, experienced observers recognize it as a replay of an old argument that was resolved by the global consensus that antitrust should focus on consumer welfare rather than on the size of firms, the levels of industry concentration, and other considerations. Moreover, the history of the Federal Trade Commission’s Section 5 authority to prevent unfair methods of competition stands as a reminder of the dangers of allowing enforcement policy to be guided by vague and uncertain standards.


The Modigliani-Miller Theorem At 60: The Long-Overlooked Legal Applications Of Finance’S Foundational Theorem, Michael S. Knoll Jan 2018

The Modigliani-Miller Theorem At 60: The Long-Overlooked Legal Applications Of Finance’S Foundational Theorem, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of Franco Modigliani and Merton Miller’s The Cost of Capital, Corporation Finance, and the Theory of Investment. Widely hailed as the foundation of modern finance, their article, which purports to demonstrate that a firm’s value is independent of its capital structure, is little known by lawyers, including legal academics. That is unfortunate because the Modigliani-Miller capital structure irrelevancy proposition (when inverted) provides a framework that can be extremely useful to legal academics, practicing attorneys and judges.


The Value Of The Right To Exclude: An Empirical Assessment, Jonathan Klick, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2017

The Value Of The Right To Exclude: An Empirical Assessment, Jonathan Klick, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Property theorists have long deemed the right to exclude fundamental and essential for the efficient use and allocation of property. Recently, however, proponents of the progressive property movement have called into question the centrality of the right to exclude, suggesting that it should be scaled back to allow the advancement of more socially beneficial uses of property. Surprisingly, the debate between the opponents and detractors of the right to exclude is devoid of any empirical evidence. The actual value of the right to exclude remains unknown.

In this Article, we set out to fill this void by measuring, for the ...


Appraising Merger Efficiencies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2017

Appraising Merger Efficiencies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Mergers of business firms violate the antitrust laws when they threaten to lessen competition, which generally refers to a price increase resulting from a reduction in output. However, a merger that threatens competition may also enable the post-merger firm to reduce its costs or improve its product. Attitudes toward mergers are heavily driven by assumptions about efficiency gains. If mergers of competitors never produced efficiency gains but simply reduced the number of competitors, a strong presumption against them would be warranted. We tolerate most mergers because of a background, highly generalized belief that most or at least many produce cost ...


Patent Pools And Related Technology Sharing, Erik Hovenkamp, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2017

Patent Pools And Related Technology Sharing, Erik Hovenkamp, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A patent "pool" is an arrangement under which patent holders in a common technology commit their patents to a single holder, who then licenses them out to the original patentees and perhaps also to outsiders. The payoffs include both revenue earned as a licensor, and technology acquired by pool members as licensees. Public effects can also be significant. For example, technology sharing of complementary patents can improve product quality and variety. In some information technology markets pools can prevent patents from becoming a costly obstacle to innovation by clearing channels of technology transfer. By contrast, a pool's aggregate output ...


Capturing Regulatory Reality: Stigler’S The Theory Of Economic Regulation, Christopher Carrigan, Cary Coglianese Jul 2016

Capturing Regulatory Reality: Stigler’S The Theory Of Economic Regulation, Christopher Carrigan, Cary Coglianese

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper offers a retrospective assessment of economist George Stigler’s classic article, The Theory of Economic Regulation. Stigler argued that regulation is a product that, just like any other product, is produced in a market, and that it can be acquired from the governmental “marketplace” by business firms to serve their private interests and create barriers to entry for potential competitors. He challenged the idea that regulation arises solely to serve the public interest and demonstrated that important political advantages held by businesses can contribute to industry capture of the regulatory process. Although his argument was largely based on ...


Antitrust Balancing, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Apr 2016

Antitrust Balancing, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust litigation often confronts situations where effects point in both directions. Judges sometimes describe the process of evaluating these factors as “balancing.” In its e-Books decision the Second Circuit believed that the need to balance is what justifies application of the rule of reason. In Microsoft the D.C. Circuit stated that “courts routinely apply a…balancing approach” under which “the plaintiff must demonstrate that the anticompetitive harm…outweighs the procompetitive benefit.” But then it decided the case without balancing anything.

The term “balancing” is a very poor label for what courts actually do in these cases. Balancing requires that ...


Why Law Now Needs To Control Rather Than Follow Neo-Classical Economics, John William Draper Jan 2016

Why Law Now Needs To Control Rather Than Follow Neo-Classical Economics, John William Draper

Librarian Scholarship at Penn Law

Selfish utilitarianism, neo-classical economics, the directive of short-term income maximization, and the decision tool of cost-benefit analysis fail to protect our species from the significant risks of too much consumption, pollution, or population. For a longer-term survival, humanity needs to employ more than cost-justified precaution.

This article argues that, at the global level, and by extension at all levels of government, we need to replace neo-classical economics with filters for safety and feasibility to regulate against significant risk. For significant risks, especially those that are irreversible, we need decision tools that will protect humanity at all scales. This article describes ...


Re-Imagining Antitrust: The Revisionist Work Of Richard S. Markovits, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2016

Re-Imagining Antitrust: The Revisionist Work Of Richard S. Markovits, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This review discusses Richard Markovits’ two volume book "Economics and the Interpretation" and "Application of U.S. and E.U. Antitrust Law" (2014), focusing mainly on Markovits’ approaches to antitrust tests of illegality, pricing offenses, market definition and the assessment of market power, and his important work anticipating unilateral effects theory in merger cases. Markovits argues forcefully that the Sherman and Clayton Acts were intended to employ different tests of illegality. As a result, even when they cover the same practices, such as mergers, exclusive dealing, or tying, they address them under different tests. He then shows how he would ...


The Dual-Grant Theory Of Fair Use, Abraham Bell, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2016

The Dual-Grant Theory Of Fair Use, Abraham Bell, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Fair use is one of modern law's most fascinating and troubling doctrines. It is amorphous and vague, and notoriously difficult to apply. It is, at the same time, vitally important in copyright and perhaps the most frequently raised and litigated issue in the law of intellectual property.

This article offers a novel theory of fair use that provides both a better understanding of the underlying principles and better tools for applying the doctrine.

In contrast with the dominant understanding of fair use in the literature — that fair use addresses market failure — the article proposes viewing fair use as a ...


Everything’S Bigger In Texas: Except The Medmal Settlements, Tom Baker, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick Jan 2016

Everything’S Bigger In Texas: Except The Medmal Settlements, Tom Baker, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recent work using Texas closed claim data finds that physicians are rarely required to use personal assets in medical malpractice settlements even when plaintiffs secure judgments above the physician's insurance limits. In equilibrium, this should lead physicians to purchase less insurance. Qualitative research on the behavior of plaintiffs suggests that there is a norm under which plaintiffs agree not to pursue personal assets as long as defendants are not grossly underinsured. This norm operates as a soft constraint on physicians. All other things equal, while physicians want to lower their coverage, they do not want to violate the norm ...


Can Simple Mechanism Design Results Be Used To Implement The Proportionality Standard In Discovery?, Jonah B. Gelbach Sep 2015

Can Simple Mechanism Design Results Be Used To Implement The Proportionality Standard In Discovery?, Jonah B. Gelbach

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

I point out that the Coase theorem suggests there should not be wasteful discovery, in the sense that the value to the requester is less than the cost to the responder. I use a toy model to show that a sufficiently informed court could design a mechanism under which the Coasean prediction is borne out. I then suggest that the actual information available to courts is too little to effect this mechanism, and I consider alternatives. In discussing mechanisms intended to avoid wasteful discovery where courts have limited information, I emphasize the role of normative considerations.


Empirical Law And Economics, Jonah B. Gelbach, Jonathan Klick Oct 2014

Empirical Law And Economics, Jonah B. Gelbach, Jonathan Klick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Empirical work has grown in importance in law and economics. This growth coincides with improvements in research designs in empirical microeconomics more generally. In this essay, we provide a stylized discussion of some trends over the last two or three decades, linking the credibility revolution in empirical micro to the ascendancy of empirical work in law and economics. We then provide some methodological observations about a number of commonly used approaches to estimating policy effects. The literature on the economics of crime and criminal procedure illustrates the ways in which many of these techniques have been used successfully. Other fields ...