Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Costs in Competition Law

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

On 25 January, the Brussels School of Competition (BSC) will organize in Brussels a half-day compliance seminar on “Costs in Competition Law”.

In line with the interdisciplinary spirit of the BSC, this event attempts to “blend” competition law and economics. Under each selected topic (see attached agenda), it thus brings together a team of one lawyer and one economist, who will seek to provide an integrated perspective on the issue.

This event is a joint initiative of the BSC and of the Institute for European Legal Studies (IEJE) of the University of Liege (ULg).

The link to the online registration form can be found at http://vbo-feb.be/en/event_registration/?e_event=97

Download Costs in competition law - Compliance Seminar - 25012012 - Programme

 

December 20, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Greening EU Competition Law and Policy

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Suzanne Kingston, University College Dublin has a new book on Greening EU Competition Law and Policy.

BOOK ABSTRACT: One of the fundamental challenges currently facing the EU is that of reconciling its economic and environmental policies. Nevertheless, the role of environmental protection in EU competition law and policy has often been overlooked. Recent years have witnessed a shift in environmental regulation from reliance on command and control to an increased use of market-based environmental policy instruments such as environmental taxes, green subsidies, emissions trading and the encouragement of voluntary corporate green initiatives. By bringing the market into environmental policy, such instruments raise a host of issues that competition law must address. This interdisciplinary treatment of the interaction between these key EU policy areas challenges the view that EU competition policy is a special case, insulated from environmental concerns by the overriding efficiency imperative, and puts forward practical proposals for achieving genuine integration.

December 20, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fordham Competition Law Institute Courses in Summer 2012

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

The Fordham Competition Law Institute’s training center for antitrust/competition law officials, judges and policymakers is pleased to announce its course offering for 2012. Since 2006, when FCLI started to offer summer courses, approximately 280 members of competition authorities and judges, representing more than 40 jurisdictions, have attended FCLI's workshops and courses. We look forward to another year of programs where a deeply experienced and world-caliber faculty will discuss advanced topics in competition law and economics with diverse groups of participants from competition authorities and courts in jurisdictions around the world.

FCLI will offer the following two courses:

Course for competition authority economists, June 18 to 22, FCLI will offer a one week course for economists from competition authorities, building on the success of previous economist courses. Through discussion and practical examples, the course will enable competition economists to refresh their knowledge of key economic concepts, learn about recent developments in economic theory, and develop the skills needed in case work. The course is open to competition authority economists with at least three years experience in an authority. A PhD in economics is not required.

Legal and Economics Issues course for experienced competition authority officials and judges, July 9 to 13, This course will discuss important topical legal and economic issues of competition policy and enforcement. Participation is limited to competition authority officials and judges with at least three to five years of experience. A highly experienced, geographically diverse faculty from competition authorities, academia and the judiciary will lead the courses and workshop, taking an interactive approach and utilizing case studies.

Detailed agendas for each of the two programs will be available shortly. Further information will be available also on the FCLI website at http://law.fordham.edu/fcli

All programs will be held at Fordham Law School in New York City. Limited financial assistance will be available to enable competition officials and judges from diverse backgrounds to attend. If there are officials within your organization or judges in your jurisdiction who are interested in attending one of the programs described below, please provide them the information about the courses and/or send their name, a short resume, and application to Ms. Alice Wong, Associate Director, at aalwong@law.fordham.edu Because space is limited, applications must be received by February 20, 2012.

December 19, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The End is Here: AT&T Drops Its Bid for T-Mobile

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

You can say kaddish for the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. AT&T threw in the towel. See this WSJ story. AT&T's statement is here. This is a significant victory for DOJ Antitrust with a big assist from the FCC.

December 19, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good: The Antitrust Objections to the Google Books Settlement

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Marina Lao (Seton Hall) discusses The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good: The Antitrust Objections to the Google Books Settlement.

ABSTRACT: The Google Books settlement recently rejected by a district court has been criticized as anticompetitive. Critics argued, and the court agreed, that approval would give Google a “de facto monopoly over unclaimed works” and “arguably give Google control over the [online] search market.” I disagree with these assessments. Though the settlement would indeed give Google de facto exclusivity over “orphan” or “unclaimed” works, it seems implausible that a small subset of out-of-print books with the least commercial value can be so unique and valuable that having exclusivity would give someone market power in an antitrust sense. But even if it does, there must be anticompetitive effects and there are few, if any, such effects. While exclusivity may not be ideal, the settlement would revitalize millions of out-of-print books, a feat that would be impossible without the settlement, and there is no less restrictive alternative. As for the argument that exclusivity over unclaimed books would further Google’s dominance in online search, there are some basic problems with this dubious, though ambitious, claim that will be addressed.

The settlement, not only enhances welfare from a microeconomic perspective, but also promises important social benefits, including equal access to books to all.

The settlement is not perfect but antitrust law does not require perfection. I will discuss why a few “perfect” alternatives preferred by objectors to the settlement are not necessarily more welfare enhancing. Even if they were, there is little to be gained and much to lose by rejecting the good for the conjectural perfect. I conclude with a suggested solution.

December 19, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Exclusive Contracts with Options

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Koki Arai, JFTC, Hiroshi Kitamura, Sapporo Gakuin University, and Misato Sato, George Washington University - Graduate School of Economics discuss Exclusive Contracts with Options.

ABSTRACT: This paper constructs a model of anticompetitive exclusive dealing with options. In contrast to previous studies, the incumbent has options to establish a direct retailer with some fixed payments and to offer exclusive contracts to a downstream buyer twice. We show that the existence of these two options helps the incumbent deter efficient entry and yield almost monopoly profits even in the absence of scale economies and downstream competition.

December 19, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

REGIME SHIFT IN ANTITRUST LAWS, ECONOMICS, AND ENFORCEMENT

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Vivek Ghosal's (Georgia Tech) excellent article REGIME SHIFT IN ANTITRUST LAWS, ECONOMICS, AND ENFORCEMENT is finally out.  Highly recommended.

ABSTRACT: This article empirically models the longer-run, deep-seated shift in intellectual thinking that followed the Chicago School's criticism of the older antitrust doctrine and the shorter-run driving forces related to switches of the political party in power, merger waves, changes in economic activity, and the level of funding for the Antitrust Division, and quantifies their impact on enforcement by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice over the period from 1958 to 2002. The key findings are: (1) a distinct regime shift in antitrust enforcement during the 1970s and, post-regime shift, there has been a marked compositional change with a quantitatively large increase (decrease) in criminal (civil) antitrust court cases initiated; (2) post-regime shift, there appears to be a change in the role played by politics with Republicans initiating more (less) criminal (civil) court cases than Democrats, and the estimated quantitative effects are large; (3) disaggregating the total number of court cases into the main categories under which they are initiated (price-fixing, mergers, monopolization, and restraints-of-trade) shows that individual types of cases have widely differing responses to changes in the driving forces; and (4) in a horserace between the regime-shift and political effects on one side and the remaining variables on the other, the former forces win hands-down in explaining broad shifts in enforcement. Modeling the longer-run shift and disaggregating the court cases emerge as crucial to gaining insights into the intertemporal shifts in enforcement. The article elaborates on the causes for the shift in enforcement and on the effectiveness of antitrust.

December 19, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)