Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Luke Froeb of Vanderbilt's Owen School of Management provides a podcast interview on his newest paper on the EU Microsoft decision and antitrust in India and China. One of Luke's best insights in the interview is that Chinese antitrust authorities might take analytical shortcuts instead of working through the nuance of bundling cases because of pressures brought by competitors. We should all be concerned with false prosecutions in antitrust and it strikes me that for new antitrust agencies, bundling should not be anywhere near the top of the list of priorities. All to often agencies focus on enforcement where I think that competition advocacy to limit anti-competitive government regulation is crucial, particularly as many new agencies are in countries that have not fully embraced the market as a way to organize the economy. Enforcement should focus on cartels and addressing the role of state owned enterprises and government granted monopolies. Nevertheless, there is no one size fits all set of priorities and we need to be careful to match enforcement with the particular set of economic and political circumstances of a given country. With this caveat, I still cannot think of any new agency around the world that ought to be focusing on bundling.