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

Is The Digital Economy Too Concentrated?, Jonathan Klick

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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.


Network Effects In Action, Christopher S. Yoo Nov 2020

Network Effects In Action, Christopher S. Yoo

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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 alternative …


The Costs Of Critical Habitat Or Owl’S Well That Ends Well, Jonathan Klick, J.B. Ruhl Nov 2020

The Costs Of Critical Habitat Or Owl’S Well That Ends Well, Jonathan Klick, J.B. Ruhl

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When the Fish and Wildlife Service designated land in four counties of Arizona as “critical habitat” necessary for the protection of the endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy‐owl, property values dropped considerably. When the owl was later delisted, property values jumped back up. We use difference-in-difference and synthetic control designs to identify this effect with Zillow property value data. The results provide an estimate of the costs of this critical habitat designation, and they are considerable, contrary to the regulators’ position that critical habitat protection imposes no incremental costs beyond the original endangered species listing.


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

Competitive Harm From Vertical Mergers, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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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 …


The Aca’S Choice Problem, Allison K. Hoffman Aug 2020

The Aca’S Choice Problem, Allison K. Hoffman

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is in many ways a success. Millions more Americans now have access to health care, and the ACA catalyzed advances in health care delivery reform. Simultaneously, it has reinforced and bolstered a problem at the heart of American health policy and regulation: a love affair with choice. The ACA’s insurance reforms doubled down on the particularly American obsession with choice. This article describes three ways in which that doubling down is problematic for the future of US health policy. First, pragmatically, health policy theory predicts that choice among health plans will produce tangible benefits that …


Implicit Communication And Enforcement Of Corporate Disclosure Regulation, Ashiq Ali, Michael T. Durney, Jill E. Fisch, Hoyoun Kyung Jul 2020

Implicit Communication And Enforcement Of Corporate Disclosure Regulation, Ashiq Ali, Michael T. Durney, Jill E. Fisch, Hoyoun Kyung

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This study examines the challenge of implicit communication -- qualitative statements, tone, and non-verbal cues -- to the effectiveness of enforcing corporate disclosure regulation. We use a Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD) setting, given that the SEC adopted the regulation recognizing that managers can convey non-public information privately not just through explicit quantitative disclosures but also through implicit communication. In a high-profile enforcement action, however, the court focused on a literal examination of the manager’s language rather than his positive spin to conclude that the SEC had been “too demanding” in examining the manager’s statements and that its enforcement policy …


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

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

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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 understandable: …


Understanding The Revenue Potential Of Tax Compliance Investment, Natasha Sarin, Lawrence H. Summers Jul 2020

Understanding The Revenue Potential Of Tax Compliance Investment, Natasha Sarin, Lawrence H. Summers

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In a July 2020 report, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that modest investments in the IRS would generate somewhere between $60 and $100 billion in additional revenue over a decade. This is qualitatively correct. But quantitatively, the revenue potential is much more significant than the CBO report suggests. We highlight five reasons for the CBO’s underestimation: 1) the scale of the investment in the IRS contemplated is modest and far short of sufficient even to return the IRS budget to 2011 levels; 2) the CBO contemplates a limited range of interventions, excluding entirely progress on information reporting and technological advancements; …


Commercial Law Intersections, Giuliano Castellano, Andrea Tosato Apr 2020

Commercial Law Intersections, Giuliano Castellano, Andrea Tosato

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Commercial law is not a single, monolithic entity. It has grown into a dense thicket of subject-specific branches that govern a broad range of transactions and corporate actions. When one of these events falls concurrently within the purview of two or more of these commercial law branches - such as corporate law, intellectual property law, secured transactions law, conduct and prudential regulation - an overlap materializes. We refer to this legal phenomenon as a commercial law intersection (CLI). Some notable examples of transactions that feature CLIs include bank loans secured by shares, supply chain financing arrangements, patent cross-licensing, and blockchain-based …


Lost In Transplantation: Modern Principles Of Secured Transactions Law As Legal Transplants, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Apr 2020

Lost In Transplantation: Modern Principles Of Secured Transactions Law As Legal Transplants, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

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This manuscript will appear as a chapter in a forthcoming edited volume published by Hart Publishing, Secured Transactions Law in Asia: Principles, Perspectives and Reform (Louise Gullifer & Dora Neo eds., forthcoming 2020). It focuses on a set of principles (Modern Principles) that secured transactions law for personal property should follow. These Modern Principles are based on UCC Article 9 and its many progeny, including the UNCITRAL Model Law on Secured Transactions. The chapter situates the Modern principles in the context of the transplantation of law from one legal system to another. It draws in particular on Alan Watson’s pathbreaking …


An Essay On Pluralism In Financial Market Infrastructure Design: The Case Of Securities Holding In The United States, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Apr 2020

An Essay On Pluralism In Financial Market Infrastructure Design: The Case Of Securities Holding In The United States, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

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This essay will appear as a chapter in a forthcoming edited volume published by Oxford University Press. It builds on the earlier article, Beyond Intermediation: A New (FinTech) Model for Securities Holding Infrastructures, 22 U. Pa. J. Bus. L. 386 (2020), which argues that serious consideration should be given to modifications of the deeply intermediated securities holding systems in the United States and elsewhere. Many of the costs and risks imposed by the intermediated holding systems fall within the domain of the regulation of securities markets (internal costs), such as impairments of shareholder voting and bondholder claims against issuers. …


The Paradox Of Insurance, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman Mar 2020

The Paradox Of Insurance, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman

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In this Article, we uncover a paradoxical phenomenon that has hitherto largely escaped the attention of legal scholars and economists, yet it has far-reaching implications for insurance law: loss-creation by uninsured parties caused by the presence of insurance. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, we show that insurance can create significant negative externalities by inducing third parties to engage in antisocial, illegal and unethical activities in order to extract money from insureds or insurers. Moreover, as the amount and scope of insurance grows, so does its distortionary effect on third parties. We term this phenomenon the paradox of insurance. The risk …


Steiner V. Utah: Designing A Constitutional Remedy, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason Mar 2020

Steiner V. Utah: Designing A Constitutional Remedy, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason

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In an earlier article, we argued that the Utah Supreme Court failed to follow and correctly apply clear U.S. Supreme Court precedent in Steiner v. Utah when the Utah high court held that an internally inconsistent and discriminatory state tax regime did not violate the dormant commerce clause. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court recently declined certiorari in Steiner, but the issue is unlikely to go away. Not every state high court will defy the U.S. Supreme Court by refusing to apply the dormant commerce clause, and so the Court will sooner or later likely find itself facing conflicting interpretations of …


The Law And Economics Of Risk Regulation, Cary Coglianese Feb 2020

The Law And Economics Of Risk Regulation, Cary Coglianese

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Law plays a central role in the management of risk in society. The rules adopted by regulatory agencies now affect nearly every facet of the economy, and as such regulation has motivated a substantial body of academic research. Law and economics research on regulation has, first, demonstrated the normative justification for governmental intervention in the marketplace based on the concept of market failure. Second, political economy research on regulation has shown how, as a positive matter, interest groups, political movements, and public pressure affect the stringency of such regulation, sometimes more than any normative rationale for regulation. Third, risk regulation …


Private Equity Value Creation In Finance: Evidence From Life Insurance, Divya Kirti, Natasha Sarin Feb 2020

Private Equity Value Creation In Finance: Evidence From Life Insurance, Divya Kirti, Natasha Sarin

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This paper studies how private equity buyouts create value in the insurance industry, where decentralized regulation creates opportunities for aggressive tax and capital management. Using novel data on 57 large private equity deals in the insurance industry, we show that buyouts create value by decreasing insurers' tax liabilities; and by reaching-for-yield: PE firms tilt their subsidiaries' bond portfolios toward junk bonds while avoiding corresponding capital charges. Previous work on affiliated or "shadow" reinsurance and capital management misses the important role that private equity buyouts play as recent drivers of these phenomenon. The trend we document is of growing importance in …


The Expansive Reach Of Pretrial Detention, Paul Heaton Feb 2020

The Expansive Reach Of Pretrial Detention, Paul Heaton

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Today we know much more about the effects of pretrial detention than we did even five years ago. Multiple empirical studies have emerged that shed new light on the far-reaching impacts of bail decisions made at the earliest stages of the criminal adjudication process. The takeaway from this new generation of studies is that pretrial detention has substantial downstream effects on both the operation of the criminal justice system and on defendants themselves, causally increasing the likelihood of a conviction, the severity of the sentence, and, in some jurisdictions, defendants’ likelihood of future contact with the criminal justice system. Detention …


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

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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


Corporate Law And The Myth Of Efficient Market Control, William W. Bratton, Simone Sepe Jan 2020

Corporate Law And The Myth Of Efficient Market Control, William W. Bratton, Simone Sepe

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In recent times, there has been an unprecedented shift in power from managers to shareholders, a shift that realizes the long-held theoretical aspiration of market control of the corporation. This Article subjects the market control paradigm to comprehensive economic examination and finds it wanting.

The market control paradigm relies on a narrow economic model that focuses on one problem only, management agency costs. With the rise of shareholder power, we need a wider lens that also takes in market prices, investor incentives, and information asymmetries. General equilibrium theory (GE) provides that lens. Several lessons follow from reference to this higher-order …


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

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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, …


Whither The Regulatory “War On Coal”? Scapegoats, Saviors, And Stock Market Reactions, Cary Coglianese, Daniel E. Walters Jan 2020

Whither The Regulatory “War On Coal”? Scapegoats, Saviors, And Stock Market Reactions, Cary Coglianese, Daniel E. Walters

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Complaints about excessive economic burdens associated with regulation abound in contemporary political and legal rhetoric. In recent years, perhaps nowhere have these complaints been heard as loudly as in the context of U.S. regulations targeting the use of coal to supply power to the nation’s electricity system, as production levels in the coal industry dropped by nearly half between 2008 and 2016. The coal industry and its political supporters, including the president of the United States, have argued that a suite of air pollution regulations imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Obama administration seriously undermined coal companies’ …


Private Company Lies, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2020

Private Company Lies, Elizabeth Pollman

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Rule 10b-5’s antifraud catch-all is one of the most consequential pieces of American administrative law and most highly developed areas of judicially-created federal law. Although the rule broadly prohibits securities fraud in both public and private company stock, the vast majority of jurisprudence, and the voluminous academic literature that accompanies it, has developed through a public company lens.

This Article illuminates how the explosive growth of private markets has left huge portions of U.S. capital markets with relatively light securities fraud scrutiny and enforcement. Some of the largest private companies by valuation grow in an environment of extreme information asymmetry …


Distorted Choice In Corporate Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2020

Distorted Choice In Corporate Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr.

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We ordinarily assume that a central objective of every voting process is ensuring an undistorted vote. Recent developments in corporate bankruptcy, which culminates with an elaborate vote, are quite puzzling from this perspective. Two strategies now routinely used in big cases are intended to distort, and clearly do distort, the voting process. Restructuring support agreements (RSAs) and “deathtrap” provisions remove creditors’ ability to vote for or against a proposed reorganization simply on the merits.

This Article offers the first comprehensive analysis of these new distortive techniques. One possible solution is simply to ban distortive techniques, as several scholars advocate with …


A Tale Of Two Markets: Regulation And Innovation In Post-Crisis Mortgage And Structured Finance Markets, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin Jan 2020

A Tale Of Two Markets: Regulation And Innovation In Post-Crisis Mortgage And Structured Finance Markets, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin

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This Article takes the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis to review recent developments in the structured products market, connecting the emergent pattern to post-crisis regulation.

The Article tells a tale of two markets. The financial crisis stemmed from excessive risk-taking and shabby practice in the subprime home mortgage market, a market that owed its existence to the private-label, originate to securitize model. But the pre-crisis boom in private label subprime mortgage-backed securities could never have happened absent back up financing from an array of structured products and vehicles created in the capital markets—the CDOs that found …


The Dormant Foreign Commerce Clause After Wynne, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason Jan 2020

The Dormant Foreign Commerce Clause After Wynne, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason

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This Essay surveys dormant foreign Commerce Clause doctrine to determine what limits it places on state taxation of international income, including both income earned by foreigners in a U.S. state and income earned by U.S. residents abroad. The dormant Commerce Clause similarly limits states’ powers to tax interstate and foreign commerce; in particular, it forbids states from discriminating against interstate or international commerce. But there are differences between the interstate and foreign commerce contexts, including differences in the nationality of affected taxpayers and differences in the impact of state taxes on federal tax and foreign-relations goals. Given current Supreme Court …


Beyond Intermediation: A New (Fintech) Model For Securities Holding Infrastructures, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Jan 2020

Beyond Intermediation: A New (Fintech) Model For Securities Holding Infrastructures, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

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Publicly traded securities generally are held by investors in securities accounts with intermediaries such as stockbrokers and central securities depositories—intermediated securities. For many investors this is the only practical means of holding and dealing with securities. These intermediated holding systems (IHSs) impose a variety of risks and costs. Investors are exposed to intermediary risk (default or insolvency of an intermediary holding securities) as well as impediments to the exercise of rights such as voting and asserting claims against securities issuers. The nontransparency of IHSs imposes other social costs, such as obstacles to anti-money laundering enforcement. The emergence of FinTech and …


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

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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

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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 …


Frand And Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2020

Frand And Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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This paper considers when a patentee’s violation of a FRAND commitment also violates the antitrust laws. It warns against two extremes. First, is thinking that any violation of a FRAND obligation is an antitrust violation as well. FRAND obligations are contractual, and most breaches of contract do not violate antitrust law. The other extreme is thinking that, because a FRAND violation is a breach of contract, it cannot also be an antitrust violation.

Every antitrust case must consider the market environment in which conduct is to be evaluated. SSOs operated by multiple firms are joint ventures. Antitrust’s role is to …