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Downstreaming, Rachel Landy Apr 2024

Downstreaming, Rachel Landy

Faculty Articles

Spotify and its competitors all offer the same product at the same price. Why? Scholars have argued that relationships can be designed in a way that naturally promotes innovation. By “braiding” certain formal contracting practices with informal enforcement norms, parties develop a frame-work that supports trust and positive, long-term collaboration. This Article takes on this consensus and shows that not all braiding is good. Using the multibillion-dollar subscription music streaming business as an illustration, it demonstrates just how industry forces can, and do, overcome braiding’s positive slant. In that industry, the major record labels (Universal, Warner, and Sony) weaponize braiding …


Getting Merger Guidelines Right, Keith N. Hylton Feb 2024

Getting Merger Guidelines Right, Keith N. Hylton

Faculty Scholarship

This paper is on the new Merger Guidelines. It makes several arguments. First, that the Guidelines should be understood as existing in a political equilibrium. Second, that the new structural presumption of the Merger Guidelines (HHI = 1,800) is too strict, and that an economically reasonable revision in the structural presumption would have increased rather than decreased the threshold. Whereas the new Guidelines lowers the threshold to HHI 1,800 from HHI 2,500, an economically reasonable revision would have increased the threshold to HHI 3,200. I justify this argument using a bare-bones model of Cournot competition. Third, it seems unlikely, …


Stakeholderism Silo Busting, Aneil Kovvali Jan 2023

Stakeholderism Silo Busting, Aneil Kovvali

Articles by Maurer Faculty

The fields of antitrust, bankruptcy, corporate, and securities law are undergoing tumultuous debates. On one side in each field is the dominant view that each field should focus exclusively on a specific constituency—antitrust on consumers, bankruptcy on creditors, corporate law on shareholders, and securities regulation on financial investors. On the other side is a growing insurgency that seeks to broaden the focus to a larger set of stakeholders, including workers, the environment, and political communities. But these conversations have largely proceeded in parallel, with each debate unfolding within the framework and literature of a single field. Studying these debates together …


Inflation, Market Failures, And Algorithms, Rory Van Loo Sep 2022

Inflation, Market Failures, And Algorithms, Rory Van Loo

Faculty Scholarship

Inflation is a problem of tremendous scale. But inflation itself is unlikely to cause the greatest economic harm during inflationary periods. Instead, a more likely source of devastation will be policymakers’ response to inflation. Their main anti-inflation tools, most notably increasing interest rates, increase unemployment and the risk of recessions. This Article argues that there is a better approach. Rather than defaulting to interest rate hikes that harm markets, policy makers should prioritize laws that lower prices while improving markets. For decades, businesses have raised prices by manipulating consumers, exercising monopoly power, and lobbying for laws that block competition. Automated …


Antitrust And Platform Monopoly, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Nov 2021

Antitrust And Platform Monopoly, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

All Faculty Scholarship

Are large digital platforms that deal directly with consumers “winner take all,” or natural monopoly, firms? That question is surprisingly complex and does not produce the same answer for every platform. The closer one looks at digital platforms the less they seem to be winner-take-all. As a result, competition can be made to work in most of them. Further, antitrust enforcement, with its accommodation of firm variety, is generally superior to any form of statutory regulation that generalizes over large numbers.

Assuming that an antitrust violation is found, what should be the remedy? Breaking up large firms subject to extensive …


Vertical Mergers In A Model Of Upstream Monopoly And Incomplete Information, Serge Moresi, David Reitman, Steven C. Salop, Yianis Sarafidis Jan 2021

Vertical Mergers In A Model Of Upstream Monopoly And Incomplete Information, Serge Moresi, David Reitman, Steven C. Salop, Yianis Sarafidis

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

We examine the role of private information on the impact of vertical mergers. A vertical merger can improve the information that is available to an upstream monopolist because, after the merger, the monopolist can observe the cost of its downstream merger partner. In the pre-merger world, because the costs of the downstream firms are private information, the monopolist has incomplete information and cannot implement the monopoly outcome: The expected pre-merger equilibrium price of the downstream product is lower than the monopoly price. After a vertical merger, the equilibrium input price that is charged to the downstream rival can either increase …


Common Ownership: Do Managers Really Compete Less?, Merritt B. Fox, Manesh S. Patel Jan 2021

Common Ownership: Do Managers Really Compete Less?, Merritt B. Fox, Manesh S. Patel

Faculty Scholarship

This Article addresses an important question in modern antitrust: when large investment funds have holdings across an industry, is competition depressed?

The question of the impact of common ownership on competition has gained much attention as the role of institutional shareholding has grown, with the funds of the three largest management companies holding in aggregate approximately 21% of the shares of a typical S&P 500 firm. It is a source of acute disagreement among scholars and policymakers, with some who believe common ownership does depress competition seeking antitrust law reforms that would significantly constrain how investment funds operate. Neglected in …


In Defense Of Breakups: Administering A “Radical” Remedy, Rory Van Loo Nov 2020

In Defense Of Breakups: Administering A “Radical” Remedy, Rory Van Loo

Faculty Scholarship

Calls for breaking up monopolies—especially Amazon, Facebook, and Google—have largely focused on proving that past acquisitions of companies like Whole Foods, Instagram, and YouTube were anticompetitive. But scholars have paid insufficient attention to another major obstacle that also explains why the government in recent decades has not broken up a single large company. After establishing that an anticompetitive merger or other act has occurred, there is great skepticism of breakups as a remedy. Judges, scholars, and regulators see a breakup as extreme, frequently comparing the remedy to trying to “unscramble eggs.” They doubt the government’s competence in executing such a …


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

Competitive Harm From Vertical Mergers, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

All Faculty Scholarship

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 …


Vertical Merger Enforcement Actions: 1994–April 2020, Steven C. Salop, Daniel P. Culley Apr 2020

Vertical Merger Enforcement Actions: 1994–April 2020, Steven C. Salop, Daniel P. Culley

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

We have revised our earlier listing of vertical merger enforcement actions by the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission since 1994. This revised listing includes 66 vertical matters beginning in 1994 through April 2020. It includes challenges and certain proposed transactions that were abandoned in the face of Agency concerns. This listing can be treated as an Appendix to Steven C. Salop and Daniel P. Culley, Revising the Vertical Merger Guidelines: Policy Issues and an Interim Guide for Practitioners, 4 JOURNAL OF ANTITRUST ENFORCEMENT 1 (2016).


The New Gatekeepers: Private Firms As Public Enforcers, Rory Van Loo Apr 2020

The New Gatekeepers: Private Firms As Public Enforcers, Rory Van Loo

Faculty Scholarship

The world’s largest businesses must routinely police other businesses. By public mandate, Facebook monitors app developers’ privacy safeguards, Citibank audits call centers for deceptive sales practices, and Exxon reviews offshore oil platforms’ environmental standards. Scholars have devoted significant attention to how policy makers deploy other private sector enforcers, such as certification bodies, accountants, lawyers, and other periphery “gatekeepers.” However, the literature has yet to explore the emerging regulatory conscription of large firms at the center of the economy. This Article examines the rise of the enforcer-firm through case studies of the industries that are home to the most valuable companies, …


Asymmetric Stakes In Antitrust Litigation, Erik Hovenkamp, Steven C. Salop Mar 2020

Asymmetric Stakes In Antitrust Litigation, Erik Hovenkamp, Steven C. Salop

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Private antitrust litigation often involves a dominant firm being accused of exclusionary conduct by a smaller rival or entrant. Importantly, the firms in such cases generally have asymmetric stakes: the defendant typically has a much larger financial interest on the line. We explore the broad policy implications of this fact using a novel model of litigation with endogenous effort. Asymmetric stakes lead dominant defendants to invest systematically more resources into litigation, causing the plaintiff's success probability to fall below the efficient level--a distortion that carries over to ex ante settlements. We explain that enhanced damages may reduce the problem, but …


Nascent Competitors, C. Scott Hemphill, Tim Wu Jan 2020

Nascent Competitors, C. Scott Hemphill, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

A nascent competitor is a firm whose prospective innovation represents a serious threat to an incumbent. Protecting such competition is a critical mission for antitrust law, given the outsized role of unproven outsiders as innovators and the uniquely potent threat they often pose to powerful entrenched firms. In this Article, we identify nascent competition as a distinct analytical category and outline a program of antitrust enforcement to protect it. We make the case for enforcement even where the ultimate competitive significance of the target is uncertain, and explain why a contrary view is mistaken as a matter of policy and …


The Separation Of Platforms And Commerce, Lina M. Khan Jan 2019

The Separation Of Platforms And Commerce, Lina M. Khan

Faculty Scholarship

A handful of digital platforms mediate a growing share of online commerce and communications. By structuring access to markets, these firms function as gatekeepers for billions of dollars in economic activity. One feature dominant digital platforms share is that they have inte­grated across business lines such that they both operate a platform and market their own goods and services on it. This structure places domi­nant platforms in direct competition with some of the businesses that de­pend on them, creating a conflict of interest that platforms can exploit to further entrench their dominance, thwart competition, and stifle innovation.

This Article argues …


Trade Openness And Antitrust Law, Anu Bradford, Adam S. Chilton Jan 2019

Trade Openness And Antitrust Law, Anu Bradford, Adam S. Chilton

Faculty Scholarship

Openness to international trade and adoption of antitrust laws can both curb anti-competitive behavior. But scholars have long debated the relationship between the two. Some argue that greater trade openness makes antitrust unnecessary, while others contend that antitrust laws are still needed to realize the benefits of trade liberalization. Data limitations have made this debate largely theoretical to date. We study the relationship between trade and antitrust empirically using new data on antitrust laws and enforcement activities. We find that trade openness and stringency of antitrust laws are positively correlated from 1950 to 2010 overall, but the positive correlation disappears …


Revising The Vertical Merger Guidelines (Ftc Hearings), Steven C. Salop Nov 2018

Revising The Vertical Merger Guidelines (Ftc Hearings), Steven C. Salop

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This slide deck was the author’s presentation at the FTC Hearings on Vertical Mergers (November 1, 2018). The deck sets out a summary of the author’s economic analysis and proposed revisions to the U.S. Vertical Merger Guidelines.


Serial Collusion By Multi-Product Firms, Michael J. Meurer, William Kovacic, Robert Marshall Aug 2018

Serial Collusion By Multi-Product Firms, Michael J. Meurer, William Kovacic, Robert Marshall

Faculty Scholarship

We provide empirical evidence that many multi-product firms have each participated in several cartels over the past 50 years. Standard analysis of cartel conduct, as well as enforcement policy, is rooted in the presumption that each cartel in which a given firm participates is a singular activity, independent of other cartel conduct by the firm. We argue that this analysis is deficient in many respects in the face of serial collusion by multi-product firms. We offer policy recommendations to reign in serial collusion, including a mandatory coordinated effects review for any merger involving a serial colluder, regardless of the apparent …


Horizontal Shareholding And Antitrust Policy, Fiona M. Scott Morton, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2018

Horizontal Shareholding And Antitrust Policy, Fiona M. Scott Morton, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

All Faculty Scholarship

“Horizontal shareholding” occurs when one or more equity funds own shares of competitors operating in a concentrated product market. For example, the four largest mutual fund companies might be large shareholders of all the major United States air carriers. A growing body of empirical literature concludes that under these conditions market output in the product market is lower and prices higher than they would otherwise be.

Here we consider how the antitrust laws might be applied to this practice, identifying the issues that courts are likely to encounter and attempting to anticipate litigation problems. We assume that neither the mutual …


The Raising Rivals' Cost Foreclosure Paradigm, Conditional Pricing Practices, And The Flawed Incremental Price-Cost Test, Steven C. Salop Jan 2017

The Raising Rivals' Cost Foreclosure Paradigm, Conditional Pricing Practices, And The Flawed Incremental Price-Cost Test, Steven C. Salop

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

There are two overarching legal paradigms for analyzing exclusionary conduct in antitrust – predatory pricing and the raising rivals’ costs characterization of foreclosure. Sometimes the choice of paradigm is obvious. Other times, it may depend on the structure of the plaintiff’s allegations. Some types of conduct, notably conditional pricing practices (CPPs), might appear by analogy to fit into both paradigms. CPPs involve pricing that is conditioned on exclusivity or some other type of favoritism in a customer’s purchases or input supplier’s sales. The predatory pricing paradigm would attack the low prices of CPPs. By contrast, the RRC foreclosure paradigm would …


Appraising Merger Efficiencies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2017

Appraising Merger Efficiencies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

All Faculty Scholarship

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 …


Market Power And Inequality: The Antitrust Counterrevolution And Its Discontents, Lina M. Khan, Sandeep Vaheesan Jan 2017

Market Power And Inequality: The Antitrust Counterrevolution And Its Discontents, Lina M. Khan, Sandeep Vaheesan

Faculty Scholarship

In recent years, economic inequality has become a central topic of public debate in the United States and much of the developed world. The popularity of Thomas Piketty’s nearly 700-page tome, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, is a testament to this newfound focus on economic disparity. As top intellectuals, politicians, and public figures have come to recognize inequality as a major problem that must be addressed, they have offered a range of potential solutions. Frequently mentioned proposals include reforming the tax system, strengthening organized labor, revising international trade and investment agreements, and reducing the size of the financial sector.

One …


The Corporation As Courthouse, Rory Van Loo Jan 2016

The Corporation As Courthouse, Rory Van Loo

Faculty Scholarship

Despite the considerable attention paid to mandatory arbitration, few consumer disputes ever reach arbitration. By contrast, institutions such as Apple’s customer service department handle hundreds of millions of disputes annually. This Article argues that understanding businesses’ internal dispute processes is crucial to diagnosing consumers’ procedural needs. Moreover, businesses’ internal processes interact with a larger system of private actors. These actors include ratings websites that mete out reputational sanctions. The system also includes other corporations linked to the transaction, such as when American Express adjudicates a contested sale between a shopper and Home Depot. This vast private order offers promise to …


Overlapping Financial Investor Ownership, Market Power, And Antitrust Enforcement: My Qualified Agreement With Professor Elhauge, Jonathan Baker Jan 2016

Overlapping Financial Investor Ownership, Market Power, And Antitrust Enforcement: My Qualified Agreement With Professor Elhauge, Jonathan Baker

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

As is well known among financial economists but not previously recognized within the antitrust community, large and diversified institutional investors such as BlackRock, Fidelity, State Street, and Vanguard collectively own roughly two-thirds of the shares of publicly traded U.S. firms overall, up from about one-third in 1980. Recent economic research involving airlines and banking raises the possibility that overlapping ownership of horizontal rivals by diversified financial institutions facilitates anticompetitive conduct throughout the economy, and that the problem has been growing for decades, unnoticed until now. This response to an article by Professor Einer Elhauge, explains why it may be more …


Revising The U.S. Vertical Merger Guidelines: Policy Issues And An Interim Guide For Practitioners, Steven C. Salop, Daniel P. Culley Nov 2015

Revising The U.S. Vertical Merger Guidelines: Policy Issues And An Interim Guide For Practitioners, Steven C. Salop, Daniel P. Culley

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Mergers and acquisitions are a major component of antitrust law and practice. The U.S. antitrust agencies spend a majority of their time on merger enforcement. The focus of most merger review at the agencies involves horizontal mergers, that is, mergers among firms that compete at the same level of production or distribution.

Vertical mergers combine firms at different levels of production or distribution. In the simplest case, a vertical merger joins together a firm that produces an input (and competes in an input market) with a firm that uses that input to produce output (and competes in an output market). …


Cguppi: Scoring Incentives To Engage In Parallel Accommodating Conduct, Serge Moresi, David Reitman, Steven C. Salop, Yianis Sarafidis Aug 2015

Cguppi: Scoring Incentives To Engage In Parallel Accommodating Conduct, Serge Moresi, David Reitman, Steven C. Salop, Yianis Sarafidis

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

We propose an index for scoring coordination incentives, which we call the “coordination GUPPI” or cGUPPI. While the cGUPPI can be applied to a wide range of coordinated effects concerns, it is particularly relevant for gauging concerns of parallel accommodating conduct (PAC), a concept that received due prominence in the 2010 U.S. Horizontal Merger Guidelines. PAC is a type of coordinated conduct whereby a firm raises price with the expectation—but without any prior agreement—that one or more other firms will follow and match the price increase. The cGUPPI is the highest uniform price increase that all the would-be coordinating firms …


Progressive Legal Thought, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2015

Progressive Legal Thought, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

All Faculty Scholarship

A widely accepted model of American legal history is that "classical" legal thought, which dominated much of the nineteenth century, was displaced by "progressive" legal thought, which survived through the New Deal and in some form to this day. Within its domain, this was a revolution nearly on a par with Copernicus or Newton. This paradigm has been adopted by both progressive liberals who defend this revolution and by classical liberals who lament it.

Classical legal thought is generally identified with efforts to systematize legal rules along lines that had become familiar in the natural sciences. This methodology involved not …


Potential Competitive Effects Of Vertical Mergers: A How-To Guide For Practitioners, Steven C. Salop, Daniel P. Culley Dec 2014

Potential Competitive Effects Of Vertical Mergers: A How-To Guide For Practitioners, Steven C. Salop, Daniel P. Culley

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The purpose of this short article is to aid practitioners in analyzing the competitive effects of vertical and complementary product mergers. It is also intended to assist the agencies if and when they undertake revision of the 1984 U.S. Vertical Merger Guidelines. Those Guidelines are out of date and do not reflect current enforcement or economic thinking about the potential competitive effects of vertical mergers. Nor do they provide the tools needed to carry out a modern competitive effects analysis. This article is intended to partially fill the gap by summarizing the various potential competitive harms and benefits that can …


Antitrust’S State Action Doctrine And The Ordinary Powers Of Corporations, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Oct 2012

Antitrust’S State Action Doctrine And The Ordinary Powers Of Corporations, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

All Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court has now agreed to review the Eleventh Circuit's decision in Phoebe-Putney, which held that a state statute permitting a hospital authority to acquire hospitals implicitly authorized such acquisitions when they were anticompetitive – in this particular case very likely facilitating a merger to monopoly. Under antitrust law’s “state action” doctrine a state may in fact authorize such an acquisition, provided that it “clearly articulates” its desire to approve an action that would otherwise constitute an antitrust violation and also “actively supervises” any private conduct that might fall under the state’s regulatory scheme.

“Authorization” in the context of …


The Lessons From Libor For Detection And Deterrence Of Cartel Wrongdoing, Rosa M. Abrantes-Metz, D. Daniel Sokol Oct 2012

The Lessons From Libor For Detection And Deterrence Of Cartel Wrongdoing, Rosa M. Abrantes-Metz, D. Daniel Sokol

UF Law Faculty Publications

In late June 2012, Barclays entered into a $453 million settlement with UK and U.S. regulators due to its manipulation of Libor between 2005 and 2009. Among the agencies that investigated Barclays is the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (as well as other antitrust authorities and regulatory agencies from around the world). Participation in a price fixing conduct, by its very nature, requires the involvement of more than one firm.

We are cautious to draw overly broad conclusions until more facts come out in the public domain. What we note at this time, based on public information, is that the …


Markets In Merger Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2012

Markets In Merger Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

All Faculty Scholarship

Antitrust merger policy suffers from a disconnect between its articulated concerns and the methodologies it employs. The Supreme Court has largely abandoned the field of horizontal merger analysis, leaving us with ancient decisions that have never been overruled but whose fundamental approach has been ignored or discredited. As a result the case law reflects the structuralism of a bygone era, focusing on industrial concentration and market shares, largely to the exclusion of other measures of competitive harm, including price increases. Only within the last generation has econometrics developed useful techniques for estimating the price impact of specific mergers in differentiated …