Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Jon Baker (American University) has a wonderful piece on Economics and Politics: Perspectives on the Goals and Future of Antitrust.
ABSTRACT: This article examines the roles of economics and politics in U.S. antitrust from several perspectives. It explains why the modern debate over the economic welfare standard that enforcers and courts should pursue is unsatisfying. It connects economics and politics by describing antitrust’s economic goals as the product of a mid-20th century political understanding about the nature of economic regulation that has continued in force to this day. To protect that understanding, it explains, antitrust rules should now be implemented using a qualified consumer welfare standard. The article also identifies contemporary political tensions that threaten to create regulatory gridlock, or even to undermine the political understanding, and uses that framework to sketch several possible futures for competition policy. The article concludes with a comment on the indispensable role of economics in shaping and applying modern antitrust.