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Antitrust

Faculty Scholarship

Law and Economics

Boston University School of Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

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, …


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 …


Information Technology And Industry Concentration, James Bessen Aug 2020

Information Technology And Industry Concentration, James Bessen

Faculty Scholarship

Industry concentration has been rising in the US since 1980. Firm operating margins have also been rising. Are these signs of declining competition that call for a new antitrust policy? This paper explores the role of proprietary information technology systems (IT), which could increase industry concentration and margins by raising the productivity of top firms relative to others. Using instrumental variable estimates, this paper finds that IT system use is strongly associated with the level and growth of industry concentration and firm operating margins. The paper also finds that IT system use is associated with relatively larger establishment size and …


Price Discrimination & Intellectual Property, Michael J. Meurer, Ben Depoorter Jan 2019

Price Discrimination & Intellectual Property, Michael J. Meurer, Ben Depoorter

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter reviews the law and economics literature on intellectual property law and price discrimination. We introduce legal scholars to the wide range of techniques used by intellectual property owners to practice price discrimination; in many cases the link between commercial practice and price discrimination may not be apparent to non-economists. We introduce economists to the many facets of intellectual property law that influence the profitability and practice of price discrimination. The law in this area has complex effects on customer sorting and arbitrage. Intellectual property law offers fertile ground for analysis of policies that facilitate or discourage price discrimination. …


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 …


The Policy Challenge Of Artificial Intelligence, James Bessen Jul 2018

The Policy Challenge Of Artificial Intelligence, James Bessen

Faculty Scholarship

New "artificial intelligence" (AI) technology promises to bring dramatic social and economic changes, demanding major policy changes. In intellectual property and antitrust law, AI will exacerbate a damaging trend: across all major sectors of the economy, proprietary information technology is increasing the market dominance of large firms. This trend might not seem like bad news, but it is evidence of a slowdown in the spread of technical knowledge throughout the economy. The result is rising industry concentration, slower productivity growth and growing wage inequality. The key challenge to IP and antitrust policy will be counter this trend yet maintain innovation …


The Law And Economics Of Monopolization Standards, Keith N. Hylton Jan 2010

The Law And Economics Of Monopolization Standards, Keith N. Hylton

Faculty Scholarship

Monopolization, the restriction of competition by a dominant firm, is regulated in roughly half of the world’s nations. The two most famous laws regulating monopolization are Section 2 of the Sherman Act, in the United States, and Article 82 of the European Community Treaty. Both laws have been understood as prohibiting ‘abuses’ of monopoly power.


Measuring Market Power When The Firm Has Power In The Input And Output Markets, Keith N. Hylton, Mark Lasser Mar 1998

Measuring Market Power When The Firm Has Power In The Input And Output Markets, Keith N. Hylton, Mark Lasser

Faculty Scholarship

We examine the problem of measuring market power when the firm has monopoly power in the output market and monopsony power in the input market - a case we refer to as 'dual-market' power. We show how the Lerner index, which measures the mark-up over the marginal cost, can be modified to reflect the firm's ability to set price above the competitive level.


Economic Rents And Essential Facilities, Keith N. Hylton Jan 1991

Economic Rents And Essential Facilities, Keith N. Hylton

Faculty Scholarship

This paper presents an economic analysis of the essential facility doctrine of antitrust. According to this doctrine, a firm or group of firms that possesses exclusive access to a cost-reducing facility must be prepared to share such access on fair terms with competitors.