Wednesday, January 31, 2007

U.S. Antitrust Economics Scholarship

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

This spring I am teaching a comparative and international antitrust law and economics seminar with my colleague and co-author Kyle Stiegert in our Applied Economics department.  The class has an eclectic mix of students.  Some are economics PhD students, others are JD and LLM students. Students have different levels of classroom and practical background in antitrust law and/or economics. Kyle and I have found that it is helpful to have both lawyers and economists in the same class to tease out different perspectives, presumptions and approaches for issues that both disciplines grapple to understand. We hope that this class will aid students to create effective policy solutions since outside the classroom lawyers and economists must interface regularly on antitrust. So far, the mix of backgrounds and approaches (we also have a former Taiwanese FTC lawyer in the class) has made for excellent classroom discussion. In trying to find a nice background literature review on U.S. antitrust for the class, I came across a new NBER working paper, entitled "Antitrust" by Louis Kaplow and Carl Shapiro that surveys the economics underlying antitrust.

ABSTRACT: This is a survey of the economic principles that underlie antitrust law and how those principles relate to competition policy. We address four core subject areas: market power, collusion, mergers between competitors, and monopolization. In each area, we select the most relevant portions of current economic knowledge and use that knowledge to critically assess central features of antitrust policy. Our objective is to foster the improvement of legal regimes and also to identify topics where further analytical and empirical exploration would be useful.

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