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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 …


A Case For Higher Corporate Tax Rates, Edward G. Fox, Zachary D. Liscow Jul 2020

A Case For Higher Corporate Tax Rates, Edward G. Fox, Zachary D. Liscow

Law & Economics Working Papers

In this report, Fox and Liscow argue that, while conventional wisdom holds that we should lower taxes on corporations because of international competition, two recent changes militate in favor of higher corporate taxes, which would close the deficit, fund social programs, and reduce inequality. First, changes in tax law have increasingly targeted the corporate tax at economic “rents,” the supersized returns that businesses receive when they enjoy advantages like market power. Because taxing rents is progressive and does little to harm economic activity, a higher rate is justified. Second, shifts in the American economy have allowed companies to earn more …


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 …


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 …


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. …


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 …


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 …


"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 …


Section 5 And The Innovation Curve, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2013

Section 5 And The Innovation Curve, Daniel A. Crane

Book Chapters

the ftc’s authority to use Section 5 of the FTC Act to reach anticompetitive conduct that would not be illegal under the Sherman or Clayton Acts has been much discussed in recent years, particularly in conjunction with the FTC’s enforcement action against Intel. As of this writing, a Section 5 action against Google seems imminent.


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 …


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 …


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 …


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 …


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.


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. …


Search Neutrality As An Antitrust Principle, Daniel A. Crane Nov 2011

Search Neutrality As An Antitrust Principle, Daniel A. Crane

Law & Economics Working Papers

Google's perceived dominance in Internet search, and the perception that Google exploits this dominance to favor its own websites and service, has led to call for a mandatory legal requirement of "search neutrality." This essay argues that a general principle of search neutrality ignores the realities of Internet search and would stymie search innovation.


Rethinking Merger Efficiencies, Daniel A. Crane Mar 2011

Rethinking Merger Efficiencies, Daniel A. Crane

Law & Economics Working Papers

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. Not only does it stand in the way of some socially desirable mergers, but it may indirectly facilitate the clearance of some socially undesirable mergers. Neither system explicitly justifies this asymmetry and none of the plausible justifications is normatively …


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.


Toward A Unified Theory Of Exclusionary Vertical Restraints, Daniel A. Crane, Graciela Miralles Oct 2010

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

Law & Economics Working Papers

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 …


Predation Analysis And The Ftc’S Case Against Intel, Daniel A. Crane May 2010

Predation Analysis And The Ftc’S Case Against Intel, Daniel A. Crane

Law & Economics Working Papers

The Federal Trade Commission's pending antitrust case against Intel challenges a number of Intel's discounting and rebating practices. The Commission appears poised to apply a cost-price test to the challenged practices, but proposes to include "fixed sunk costs" in the appropriate measure of cost. This paper explains the importance of using cost-price screens to assess unilaterally imposed prices and analyzes the futility of including sunk costs in the relevant cost measure.


Did We Avoid Historical Failures Of Antitrust Enforcement During The 2008-09 Financial Crisis?, Daniel A. Crane Feb 2010

Did We Avoid Historical Failures Of Antitrust Enforcement During The 2008-09 Financial Crisis?, Daniel A. Crane

Law & Economics Working Papers

This introductory essay for a symposium on antitrust enforcement during economic crises provides a brief historical overview of the failures of antitrust enforcement during major economic crises and wars in the first half of the twentieth century. It then considers the reasons that historical narrative breaks off in the second half of the twentieth century and asks whether there is evidence of its revival during the recent economic crisis.