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Full-Text Articles in Law

Antitrust In Attention Markets: Objections And Responses, John M. Newman Jan 2020

Antitrust In Attention Markets: Objections And Responses, John M. Newman

Articles

The modern antitrust enterprise finds itself under attack. Critics complain that enforcement agencies have done nothing to stem an ever-rising tide of market concentration and corporate power. At the center of this critique lies Silicon Valley, home of a new generation of tech giants.

This symposium contribution contends that attention markets represent the largest sector of the modern economy to have gone unnoticed by antitrust regulators. If it is to fulfill its congressional mandate, the antitrust enterprise must begin paying attention to attention markets. A number of objections to this straightforward point have been raised, but each collapses under close …


No-Hire Provisions In Mcdonald's Franchise Agreements, An Antitrust Violations Or Evidence Of Joint Employer?, Andrele Brutus St. Val Jan 2019

No-Hire Provisions In Mcdonald's Franchise Agreements, An Antitrust Violations Or Evidence Of Joint Employer?, Andrele Brutus St. Val

Articles

As the archetypical franchisor and industry leader, McDonald’s has come under much public and legal scrutiny in recent years for its business practices and its effects on low-wage and unskilled employees. Its no hire provision—which is a term included in its franchise agreements with franchisees that bars franchisees from hiring each others employees—has been found by economist to suppress wages and stagnate growth. This provision is being challenged under antitrust law while its employment practices are being disputed under labor law. McDonald’s is defending its business practices by presenting two seemingly contradictory defenses. This article explores how McDonald’s position in …


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 …


Further Reflections On Antitrust And Wealth Inequality, Daniel A. Crane Oct 2017

Further Reflections On Antitrust And Wealth Inequality, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Since I have already published a lengthy academic article on antitrust and wealth inequality, I have the freedom of using this piece to present the key arguments unvarnished by dense citations or technical details (readers interested in those things should consult my earlier article) and to respond to some of the criticisms of my article that have since been levied. My thesis, before and now, is this: claims that antitrust enforcement advances income or wealth progressivity are overstated and rest on simplistic and unrealistic understandings of how antitrust actually operates. While some enforcement actions may generate progressive results, others will …


Antitrust And Wealth Inequality, Daniel Crane Apr 2016

Antitrust And Wealth Inequality, Daniel Crane

Articles

In recent years, progressive public intellectuals and prominent scholars have asserted that monopoly power lies at the root of wealth inequality and that increases in antitrust enforcement are necessary to stem its rising tide. This claim is misguided. Exercises of market power have complex, crosscutting effects that undermine the generality of the monopoly regressivity claim. Contrary to what the regressivity critics assume, wealthy shareholders and senior corporate executives do not capture the preponderance of monopoly rents. Such profits are broadly shared within and dissipated outside the firm. Further, many of the subjects of antitrust law are middle-class professionals, sole proprietors, …


Balancing Effects Across Markets, Daniel A. Crane Oct 2015

Balancing Effects Across Markets, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

In Philadelphia National Bank (PNB), the Supreme Court held that it is improper to weigh a merger's procompetitive effects in one market against the merger's anticompetitive effects in another. The merger in question, which ostensibly reduced retail competition in the Philadelphia area, could not be justified on the grounds that it increased competition against New York banks and hence perhaps enhanced competition in business banking in the mid-Atlantic region. I will refer to the Supreme Court's prohibition on balancing effects across markets as a "market-specificity" rule. Under this rule, efficiencies that may counterbalance anticompetitive aspects must be specific to …


All I Really Need To Know About Antitrust I Learned In 1912, Daniel A. Crane May 2015

All I Really Need To Know About Antitrust I Learned In 1912, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Herbert Hovenkamp has indisputably earned the deanship of contemporary antitrust scholarship. One could point to many different attributes by which he has earned his laurels: fantastic scholarly productivity; clarity and precision in the craft of writing; analytical depth in both law and economics; moderation in a field apt to polarization; and custodianship of the influential Areeda treatise. In this Essay, I hope to honor another quality that has contributed significantly to Herb’s tremendous success as an antitrust scholar—his engagement with history. Much contemporary antitrust scholarship bursts with excitement at the discovery of new phenomena or theories that in all actuality …


Market Power Without Market Definition, Daniel A. Crane Dec 2014

Market Power Without Market Definition, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Antitrust law has traditionally required proof of market power in most cases and has analyzed market power through a market definition/market share lens. In recent years, this indirect or structural approach to proving market power has come under attack as misguided in practice and intellectually incoherent. If market definition collapses in the courts and antitrust agencies, as it seems poised to do, this will rupture antitrust analysis and create urgent pressures for an alternative approach to proving market power through direct evidence. None of the leading theoretic approaches—such as the Lerner Index or a search for supracompetitive profits—provides a robust …


The Tempting Of Antitrust: Robert Bork And The Goals Of Antitrust Policy, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2014

The Tempting Of Antitrust: Robert Bork And The Goals Of Antitrust Policy, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Of all Robert Bork’s many important contributions to antitrust law, none was more significant than his identification of economic efficiency, disguised as consumer welfare, as the sole normative objective of U.S. antitrust law. The Supreme Court relied primarily on Bork’s argument that Congress intended the Sherman Act to advance consumer welfare in making its landmark statement in Reiter v. Sonotone that “Congress designed the Sherman Act as a ‘consumer welfare prescription.’” This singular normative vision proved foundational to the reorientation of antitrust law away from an interventionist, populist, Brandeisian, and vaguely Jeffersonian conception of antitrust law as a constraint on …


After Search Neutrality: Drawing A Line Between Promotion And Demotion, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2014

After Search Neutrality: Drawing A Line Between Promotion And Demotion, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

The Federal Trade Commission's (“FTC” or “the commission”) January 3, 2013 decision to close its longstanding investigation of Google1 brings to a close a flurry of discussion over the possibility that Google could become subject to a “search neutrality” principle in the United States. Although the Commission found against Google on several grounds, it rejected petitions from Google's critics to create a search neutrality principle as a matter of antitrust law. This essay briefly analyzes what remains of U.S. antitrust scrutiny of Internet search bias after the Google settlement. In particular, it suggests that a sensible line can be drawn …


Actavis, The Reverse Payment Fallacy, And The Continuing Need For Regulatory Solutions, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2014

Actavis, The Reverse Payment Fallacy, And The Continuing Need For Regulatory Solutions, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

The Actavis decision punted more than it decided. Although narrowing the range of possible outcomes by rejecting the legal rules at the extremes and opting for a rule of reason middle ground, the opinion failed to grapple with the most challenging issues of regulatory policy raised by pharmaceutical patent settlements. In particular, it failed to clearly delineate the social costs of permitting and disallowing patent settlements, avoided grappling with the crucial issues of patent validity and infringement, and erroneously focused on “reverse payments” as a distinctive antitrust problem when equally or more anticompetitive settlements can be crafted without reverse payments. …


"The Magna Carta Of Free Enterprise" Really?" , Daniel A. Crane Jan 2013

"The Magna Carta Of Free Enterprise" Really?" , Daniel A. Crane

Articles

In U.S. v. Topco Associates, Inc., Justice Thurgood Marshall announced that "[a] ntitrust laws in general, and the Sherman Act in particular, are the Magna Carta of free enterprise.", In The Antitrust Constitution, Thomas Nachbar takes seriously the idea that federal antitrust laws serve a constitutional function. He argues that, contrary to common assumptions, the antitrust laws cannot be understood merely as a form of economic utilitarianism. Rather, they serve the additional purpose of preventing "regulatory harm," the assertion of law-like control over the conduct of others outside the sphere of one's own property interests.


Bargaining Over Loyalty, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2013

Bargaining Over Loyalty, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Contracts between suppliers and customers frequently contain provisions rewarding the customer for exhibiting loyalty to the seller. For example, suppliers may offer customers preferential pricing for buying a specified percentage of their requirements from the supplier or buying minimum numbers of products across multiple product lines. Such loyalty-inducing contracts have come under attack on antitrust grounds because of their potential to foreclose competitors or soften competition by enabling tacit collusion among suppliers. This Article defends loyalty inducement as a commercial practice. Although it can be anticompetitive under some circumstances, rewarding loyal customers is usually procompetitive and price reducing. The two …


Tying And Consumer Harm, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2012

Tying And Consumer Harm, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Brantley raises important issues of law, economics, and policy about tying arrangements. Under current legal principles, Brantley was on solid ground in distinguishing between anticompetitive ties and those that might harm consumer interests without impairing competition. As a matter of economics, the court was also right to reject the claim that the cable programmers forced consumers to pay for programs the customers didn’t want. The hardest question is a policy one - whether antitrust law should ever condemn the exploitation of market power in ways that extract surplus from consumers but do not create or enlarge market power. I shall …


Has The Obama Justice Department Reinvigorated Antitrust Enforcement?, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2012

Has The Obama Justice Department Reinvigorated Antitrust Enforcement?, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

The Justice Department’s recently filed antitrust case against Apple and several major book publishers over e-book pricing, which comes on the heels of the Justice Department’s successful challenge to the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, has contributed to the perception that the Obama Administration is reinvigorating antitrust enforcement from its recent stupor. As a candidate for President, then-Senator Obama criticized the Bush Administration as having the “weakest record of antitrust enforcement of any administration in the last half century” and vowed to step up enforcement. Early in the Obama Administration, Justice Department officials furthered this perception by withdrawing the …


Too Libor, Too Late: Time To Move To A Market Rate, Michael S. Barr Jan 2012

Too Libor, Too Late: Time To Move To A Market Rate, Michael S. Barr

Articles

Barclays has been fined, the British have issued their report, and now the market is anxious for everything to go on as usual with the London Interbank Offer Rate (“LIBOR”). I think that would be a serious mistake. The U.S. and British investigations into rate-fixing by Barclays revealed a widespread culture of pervasive, deceitful conduct in the setting of the most important private sector benchmark for over $300 trillion in derivative contracts and $10 trillion in adjustable-rate loans. It is highly unlikely that Barclays was the only major bank engaging in this conduct, and public investigations and private lawsuits against …


Were Standard Oil's Railroad Rebates And Drawbacks Cost Justified?, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2012

Were Standard Oil's Railroad Rebates And Drawbacks Cost Justified?, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

In this essay, written for a symposium on the centennial anniversary of the Supreme Court's Standard Oil decision, I reexamine the costjustification question. In the first part, I explain why the cost-justification question is central to the entire case and its acquired and evolving historical meaning. In the second part, I review the evidence of claimed efficiencies passed on to the railroads. I conclude that there is evidence that Standard Oil passed along significant cost savings to the railroads and that these savings could have justified a portion of the rebates and drawbacks. However, I conclude that there is little …


Search Neutrality As An Antitrust Principle, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2012

Search Neutrality As An Antitrust Principle, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Given the Internet's designation as "the great equalizer,"' it is unsurprising that nondiscrimination has emerged as a central aspiration of web governance.2 But, of course, bias, discrimination, and neutrality are among the slipperiest of regulatory principles. One person's bias is another person's prioritization. Fresh on the heels of its initial success in advocating a net neutrality principle,' Google is in the uncomfortable position of trying to stave off a corollary principle of search neutrality.' Search neutrality has not yet coalesced into a generally understood principle, but at its heart is some idea that Internet search engines ought not to prefer …


The Obama Justice Department's Merger Enforcement Record: An Armchair Reply To Baker And Shapiro, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2012

The Obama Justice Department's Merger Enforcement Record: An Armchair Reply To Baker And Shapiro, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

My recent Essay, Has the Obama Justice Department Reinvigorated Antitrust Enforcement?, examined the three major areas of antitrust enforcement—cartels, mergers, and civil non-merger—and argued that, contrary to some popular impressions, the Obama Justice Department has not “reinvigorated” antitrust enforcement. Jonathan Baker and Carl Shapiro have published a response, which focuses solely on merger enforcement. Baker and Shapiro’s argument that the Obama Justice Department actually did reinvigorate merger enforcement is unconvincing.


A Neo-Chicago Perspective On Antitrust Institutions, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2012

A Neo-Chicago Perspective On Antitrust Institutions, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

It has long been fashionable to categorize antitrust by its "schools." From the Sherman Act's passage to World War II, there were (at least) neo-classical marginalism, populism, progressivism, associationalism, business commonwealthism, and Brandeisianism. From World War II to the present, we have seen (at least, and without counting the European Ordo-Liberals) PaleoHarvard structuralism, the Chicago School, Neo-Harvard institutionalism, and Post -Chicagoans. So why not Neo-Chicago? I am already on record as suggesting the possible emergence of such a school, so it is too late for me to dismiss the entire "schools" conversation as window-dressing. This Symposium is dedicated to defining …


Rethinking Merger Efficiencies, Daniel A. Crane Dec 2011

Rethinking Merger Efficiencies, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

The two leading merger systems-those of the United States and the European Union-treat the potential benefits and risks of mergers asymmetrically. Both systems require considerably greater proof of efficiencies than they do of potential harms if the efficiencies are to offset concerns over the accumulation or exercise of market power The implicit asymmetry principle has important systemic effects for merger control. It not only stands in the way of some socially desirable mergers but also may indirectly facilitate the clearance of some socially undesirable mergers. Neither system explicitly justifies this asymmetry, and none of the plausible justifications are normatively supportable. …


Toward A Unified Theory Of Exclusionary Vertical Restraints, Daniel A. Crane, Graciela Miralles Jan 2011

Toward A Unified Theory Of Exclusionary Vertical Restraints, Daniel A. Crane, Graciela Miralles

Articles

The law of exclusionary vertical restraints-contractual or other business relationships between vertically related firms-is deeply confused and inconsistent in both the United States and the European Union. A variety of vertical practices, including predatory pricing, tying, exclusive dealing, price discrimination, and bundling, are treated very differently based on formalistic distinctions that bear no relationship to the practices' exclusionary potential. We propose a comprehensive, unified test for all exclusionary vertical restraints that centers on two factors: foreclosure and substantiality. We then assign economic content to these factors. A restraint forecloses if it denies equally efficient rivals a reasonable opportunity to make …


Securities Law In The Roberts Court: Agenda Or Indifference?, Adam C. Pritchard Jan 2011

Securities Law In The Roberts Court: Agenda Or Indifference?, Adam C. Pritchard

Articles

To outsiders, securities law is not all that interesting. The body of the law consists of an interconnecting web of statutes and regulations that fit together in ways that are decidedly counter-intuitive. Securities law rivals tax law in its reputation for complexity and dreariness. Worse yet, the subject regulated-capital markets-can be mystifying to those uninitiated in modem finance. Moreover, those markets rapidly evolve, continually increasing their complexity. If you do not understand how the financial markets work, it is hard to understand how securities law affects those markets.


Reflections On Section 5 Of The Ftc Act And The Ftc's Case Against Intel, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2010

Reflections On Section 5 Of The Ftc Act And The Ftc's Case Against Intel, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

The Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC’s”) unprecedented enforcement action against Intel raises profound issues concerning the scope of the FTC’s powers to give a construction to Section 5 of the FTC Act that goes beyond the substantive reach of the Sherman Act. While I have urged the FTC to assert such independence from the Sherman Act, this is the wrong case to make a break. Indeed, if anything, Intel poses a risk of seriously setting back the development of an independent Section 5 power by provoking a hostile appellate court to rebuke the FTC’s effort and cabin the FTC’s powers in …


Does Monopoly Broth Make Bad Soup?, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2010

Does Monopoly Broth Make Bad Soup?, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

There is an oft-repeated maxim in U.S. antitrust law that a monopolist's conduct must be examined in its totality in order to determine its legality. Judges admonish that plaintiffs "should be given the full benefit of their proof without tightly compartmentalizating the various factual components and wiping the slate clean after scrutiny of each." As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit stated in much-quoted language, "It is the mix of various ingredients ... in a monopoly broth that produces the unsavory flavor."' In this article, I examine the use and misuse of monopoly broth theories. Reflecting a …


Optimizing Private Antitrust Enforcement, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2010

Optimizing Private Antitrust Enforcement, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Private litigation is the predominant means of antitrust enforcement in the United States. Other jurisdictions around the world are increasingly implementing private enforcement models. Private enforcement is usually justified on either compensation or deterrence grounds. While the choice between these two goals matters, private litigation is not very effective at advancing either one. Compensation fails because the true economic victims of most antitrust violations are usually downstream consumers who are too numerous and remote to locate and compensate. Deterrence is ineffective because the time lag between the planning of the violation and the legal judgment day is usually so long …


Did We Avoid Historical Failures Of Antitrust Enforcement During The 2008-2009 Financial Crisis?, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2010

Did We Avoid Historical Failures Of Antitrust Enforcement During The 2008-2009 Financial Crisis?, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

During both economic crises and wars, times of severe national anxiety, antitrust has taken a back seat to other political and regulatory objectives. Antitrust enforcement has often been a political luxury good, consumed only during periods of relative peace and prosperity. In 1890, the Sherman Act's adoption kicked off the era of national antitrust enforcement. Barely three years later, the panic of 1893 provided the first major test to the national appetite for antitrust enforcement. Perhaps 1893 should not be included in the story: antitrust was still young, and it was not even clear that the Sherman Act applied to …


Substance, Procedure, And Institutions In The International Harmonization Of Competition Policy, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2009

Substance, Procedure, And Institutions In The International Harmonization Of Competition Policy, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Many people who pay attention to the rapid development of antitrust regimes across the globe hold two tenets in common. First, most of the relevant stakeholders would benefit if competition policy could be harmonized interjurisdictionally.' Second, and alas, this beneficial harmonization is unlikely to happen on a significant scale in the foreseeable future.2 To many, antitrust harmonization is thus a noble but utopian aspiration. I generally share both the former sentiment and the latter lament but both are far too general to be of much use without further specification. Uniformity of competition policy is valuable to be sure, but not …


Bargaining In The Shadow Of Rate-Setting Courts, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2009

Bargaining In The Shadow Of Rate-Setting Courts, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Judges will tell you that they are comparatively poor rate regulators. The specialized, technical competence and supervisory capacity that public utilities commissions enjoy are usually absent from judicial chambers. Nonetheless, when granting antitrust remedies-particularly remedies for monopolistic abuse of intellectual property-courts sometimes purport to act as rate regulators for the licensing or sale of the defendant's assets. At the outset, we should distinguish between two forms ofjudicial rate setting. In one form, a court (or the FTC in its adjudicative capacity) grants a compulsory license and sets a specific rate as part of a final judgment or an order. The …


Can Bundled Discounting Increase Consumer Prices Without Excluding Rivals?, Daniel A. Crane, Joshua D. Wright Jan 2009

Can Bundled Discounting Increase Consumer Prices Without Excluding Rivals?, Daniel A. Crane, Joshua D. Wright

Articles

Since we abhor suspense, we will quickly answer the question our title poses: No. As a general matter, bundled discounting schemes lower prices to consumers unless they are predatory—that is to say, unless they exclude rivals and thereby permit the bundled discounter to price free of competitive restraint. The corollary of this observation is that bundled discounting is generally pro-competitive and pro-consumer and should only be condemned when it is capable of excluding rivals. We pose and answer this question because it is at the heart of Section VI of Professor Elhauge’s provocative draft article which is the subject of …