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Antitrust and Trade Regulation

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Worker Welfare And Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2023

Worker Welfare And Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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The important field of antitrust and labor has gone through a profound change in orientation. For the great bulk of its history labor has been viewed as a competitive threat, and the debate over antitrust and labor was framed around whether there should be a labor “immunity” from the antitrust laws. In just the last decade, however, the orientation has flipped. Most new writing views labor as a target of anticompetitive restraints imposed by employers. Antitrust is increasingly concerned with protecting labor rather than challenging its conduct.

Antitrust interest in labor markets is properly focused on two things. The smaller …


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

The Progressives' Antitrust Toolbox, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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


The Invention Of Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2022

The Invention Of Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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The long Progressive Era, from 1900 to 1930, was the Golden Age of antitrust theory, if not of enforcement. During that period courts and Progressive scholars developed nearly all of the tools that we use to this day to assess anticompetitive practices under the federal antitrust laws. In a very real sense we can say that this group of people invented antitrust law. The principal contributions the Progressives made to antitrust policy were (1) partial equilibrium analysis, which became the basis for concerns about economic concentration, the distinction between short- and long-run analysis, and later provided the foundation for the …


The Sherman Act Is A No-Fault Monopolization Statute: A Textualist Demonstration, Robert H. Lande, Richard O. Zerbe Jr. Jan 2020

The Sherman Act Is A No-Fault Monopolization Statute: A Textualist Demonstration, Robert H. Lande, Richard O. Zerbe Jr.

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The drafters of the Sherman Act originally designed Section 2 to impose

sanctions on all monopolies and attempts to monopolize, regardless whether the

firm had engaged in anticompetitive conduct. This conclusion emerges from the

first ever textualist analysis of the language in the statute, a form of interpretation

originally performed only by Justice Scalia but now increasingly used by the

Supreme Court, including in its recent Bostock decision.

Following Scalia’s methodology, this Article analyzes contemporaneous

dictionaries, legal treatises, and cases and demonstrates that when the Sherman

Act was passed, the word “monopolize” simply meant that someone had acquired

a monopoly. …


Whatever Did Happen To The Antitrust Movement?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2018

Whatever Did Happen To The Antitrust Movement?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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Antitrust in the United States today is caught between its pursuit of technical rules designed to define and implement defensible economic goals, and increasing calls for a new antitrust “movement.” The goals of this movement have been variously defined as combating industrial concentration, limiting the economic or political power of large firms, correcting the maldistribution of wealth, control of high profits, increasing wages, or protection of small business. High output and low consumer prices are typically unmentioned.

In the 1960s the great policy historian Richard Hofstadter lamented the passing of the antitrust “movement” as one of the “faded passions of …


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

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

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


The Rule Of Reason, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2018

The Rule Of Reason, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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Antitrust’s rule of reason was born out of a thirty-year (1897-1927) division among Supreme Court Justices about the proper way to assess multi-firm restraints on competition. By the late 1920s the basic contours of the rule for restraints among competitors was roughly established. Antitrust policy toward vertical restraints remained much more unstable, however, largely because their effects were so poorly understood.

This article provides a litigation field guide for antitrust claims under the rule of reason – or more precisely, for situations when application of the rule of reason is likely. At the time pleadings are drafted and even up …


United States Competition Policy In Crisis: 1890-1955, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2009

United States Competition Policy In Crisis: 1890-1955, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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The development of marginalist, or neoclassical, economics led to a fifty-year long crisis in competition theory. Given an industrial structure with sufficient fixed costs, competition always became "ruinous," forcing firms to cut prices to marginal cost without sufficient revenue remaining to pay off investment. Early neoclassicists such as Alfred Marshall were not able to solve this problem, and as a result many economists were hostile toward the antitrust laws in the early decades of the twentieth century. The ruinous competition debate came to an abrupt end in the early 1930's, when Joan Robinson and particularly Edward Chamberlin developed models that …


Ip And Antitrust Policy: A Brief Historical Overview, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2005

Ip And Antitrust Policy: A Brief Historical Overview, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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The history of IP/antitrust litigation is filled with exaggerated notions of the power conferred by IP rights and imagined threats to competition. The result is that antitrust litigation involving IP practices has seen problems where none existed. To be sure, finding the right balance between maintaining competition and creating incentives to innovate is no easy task. However, the judge in an IP/antitrust case almost never needs to do the balancing, most of which is done in the language of the IP provisions. The role of antitrust tribunals is the much more limited one of ensuring that any alleged threat to …