Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Market Power in the Russian Banking Industry

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Zuzana Fungacova (BOFIT, Bank of Finland), Laura Solanko (BOFIT, Bank of Finland), and Laurent Weill (LaRGE Research Center, Université de Strasbourg) describe Market Power in the Russian Banking Industry.

ABSTRACT: The aim of this paper is to analyze bank competition in Russia by measuring the market power of Russian banks and its determinants over the period 2001-2007 with the Lerner index. Earlier studies on bank competition have focused on developed countries whereas this paper contributes to the analysis of bank competition in emerging markets. We find that bank competition has only slightly improved during the period studied. The mean Lerner index for Russian banks is of the same magnitude as those observed in developed countries, which suggests that the Russian banking industry is not plagued by weak competition. Furthermore, we find no greater market power for state-controlled banks nor less market power for foreign-owned banks. We would consequently qualify the procompetitive role of foreign bank entry and privatization. Finally, our analysis of the determinants of market power enables the identification of several factors ! that influence competition, including market concentration and risk as well as t the nonlinear influence of size.

July 21, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Antitrust: European Commission fines animal feed phosphates producers €175 647 000 for price-fixing and market-sharing in first "hybrid" cartel settlement case

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Accoroding to its press release, DG Comp has had its first hybrid settlement.

The European Commission has concluded its first settlement of a cartel case in a hybrid scenario, where both the settlement and ordinary procedures were followed. It has fined producers of animal feed phosphates a total of €175 647 000 for operating a cartel that lasted over three decades and covered a large part of the European Economic Area (EEA) territory. All but one company settled the case with the Commission and therefore received a 10% reduction each of their fine. Animal feed phosphates are chemical compounds used in feed for animals such as cattle, pigs, poultry, fish and pets.

July 21, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Why Imposing New Tolls on Third-Party Content and Applications Threatens Innovation and Will Not Improve Broadband Providers’ Investment

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Nic Economides (NYU Stern School of Business) explains Why Imposing New Tolls on Third-Party Content and Applications Threatens Innovation and Will Not Improve Broadband Providers’ Investment.

ABSTRACT: While some broadband providers have called Internet content and application providers free riders on their infrastructure, this is incorrect and misguided. End-users pay for their residential broadband providers for access to the Internet, and content providers pay their own ISPs for connectivity as well. However, content providers need not pay residential broadband providers’ ISPs in order to reach their customers. This feature of the Internet has been one key factor that has allowed innovation to prosper and kept barriers to entry low, as the network transport market for content and application providers functions relatively efficiently. In this paper, I consider the impact of a departure from this current system. I examine the possible impact of last-mile broadband providers’ imposing “termination fees” on third-party content providers or application providers to reach end-users. Broadband providers would enga! ge in paid prioritization arrangements – that is, application and content providers could pay the broadband provider to have their traffic prioritized over competitors’ services. I argue that these arrangements would create inefficiency in the market and harm innovation. Because the last mile access broadband market is concentrated and consumers face switching costs, these concerns are particularly significant. Broadband providers insist that imposing these new charges will greatly improve network investment, and thus these charges are beneficial. I argue that this is not the case. Possible higher revenues from discrimination may simply be returned to shareholders and not invested. Additionally, evidence suggests networks invest more under non-discrimination requirements, and paid prioritization schemes would divert money towards managing scarcity instead of expanding capacity. Paid prioritization could even create an incentive for broadband providers to create congestion to increase the price of prioritized service.

 

July 21, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Internet Sales and the New EU Rules on Vertical Restraints

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Filippo Amato (Jones Day) writes on the important topic of Internet Sales and the New EU Rules on Vertical Restraints.

ABSTRACT: Various questions arise with regard to the type of internet sales restrictions that a supplier can impose upon its distributors. For instance, should internet sales be qualified as active or passive sales? Can a supplier impose an outright ban on internet sales upon its distributors and, if the answer is positive, under what circumstances? What restrictions on internet sales can be imposed on the members of a selective distribution network? These questions are not new, however. Indeed, many of them were already debated following the adoption of the Former Regulation, and addressed, albeit rather briefly, in the Former Guidelines.

Realizing that the increasing level of internet sales constituted one of the major market developments in recent years, in July 2009 the Commission announced that it would review the Former Guidelines in order to provide, inter alia, more guidance on the issue of internet sales. It is therefore not surprising that the guidance concerning internet sales provided in the Guidelines constitutes the Commission's most, if not the primary, debated novelty introduced into the law on vertical restraints.

To fully appreciate the significance and impact of the new guidance, the following sections describe: (i) how the Commission treated internet sales under the Former Guidelines, (ii) how national courts and competition authorities have dealt with internet sales restrictions during the period of applicability of the Former Guidelines, (iii) the clarifications and changes concerning internet sales proposed by the Commission in its 2009 draft guidelines on vertical restraints (the "Draft Guidelines"), and (iv) the approach eventually adopted by the Commission in the final text of the Guidelines.

July 20, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Imperfect Substitutes for Perfect Complements: Solving the Anticommons Problem

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Matteo Alvisi and Emanuela Carbonara, both Department of Economics, University of Bologna describe Imperfect Substitutes for Perfect Complements: Solving the Anticommons Problem.

ABSTRACT: An integrated monopoly, where all complements forming a composite good are offered by a single firm, is typically welfare superior to a complementary monopoly. This is the "tragedy of the anticommons". We consider the possibility of competition in the market for each complement. We present a model with two perfect complements and introduce n imperfect substitutes for one and then for both complements. We prove that, if one complementary good is produced by a monopolist, and if competition for the other complement does not vary the average quality in the market, then an integrated monopoly is still superior. In such case, favoring competition in some sectors, leaving monopolies in others would be detrimental for consumers and producers alike. Competition may be preferred if and only if the substitutes of the complementary good differ in their quality, so that as their number increases, average quality and/or quality varia! nce increases. Results change when competition is introduced in each sector. In this case, if goods are close substitutes, we find that competition may be welfare superior for a relatively small number of competing firms in each sector, even with no quality differentiation.

July 20, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Asymmetric information and exchange of information about product differentiation

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

António Brandão (CEF.UP, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto, Portugal) and Joana Pinho (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto, Portugal) discuss Asymmetric information and exchange of information about product differentiation.

ABSTRACT: We introduce asymmetric information about consumers' transportation costs (i.e., the degree of product differentiation) in the model of Hotelling (1929). When the transportation costs are high, both firms have lower profits than in the case of perfect information. Contrarily, both firms may prefer the asymmetric information case if the transportation costs are low (the informed firm always prefers the informational advantage, while the uninformed firm may or may not prefer to remain uninformed). Information sharing is ex-ante advantageous for the firms, but ex-post damaging in the case of low transportation costs. If the information is not verifiable, the informed firm always tends to announce that the transportation cost is high. To induce truthful revelation: (i) the uninformed firm must pay for the informed firm to confess that the transportation costs are low; and (ii) the informed firm must make a payment (to the un! informed firm or to a third party) for the uninformed firm to believe that the transportation costs are high.

July 20, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A "PRINCIPLED" APPROACH TO THE DESIGN OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Dennis L. Weisman (Kansas State - Econ) discusses A "PRINCIPLED" APPROACH TO THE DESIGN OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY.

ABSTRACT: The Obama administration came into power championing a philosophical shift in regulatory and antitrust policy. The telecommunications industry was singled out by the administration as a case where past regulatory or antitrust policies may have been too permissive. Prominent policy issues slated for (re)examination include forbearance from network unbundling obligations, net neutrality regulation, and prospective market failures in the provision of broadband. The principal objective of this article is to develop a set of competition and regulatory principles, firmly grounded in the law and economics literature, that can serve to inform the design of the optimal public policy for the telecommunications sector.

July 20, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 19, 2010

INNOVATION SPILLOVERS AND THE "DIRT ROAD" FALLACY: THE INTELLECTUAL BANKRUPTCY OF BANNING OPTIONAL TRANSACTIONS FOR ENHANCED DELIVERY OVER THE INTERNET

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

J. Gregory Sidak (Tilburg Law)  and David J. Teece (Berkeley Haas School of Business) explore INNOVATION SPILLOVERS AND THE "DIRT ROAD" FALLACY: THE INTELLECTUAL BANKRUPTCY OF BANNING OPTIONAL TRANSACTIONS FOR ENHANCED DELIVERY OVER THE INTERNET.

ABSTRACT: In October 2009, the Federal Communications Commission proposed "net neutrality" regulations, including a new rule that would have the effect of banning optional business-to-business transactions between broadband Internet service providers (ISPs) and content providers for enhanced delivery of packets over the Internet. The proposed "nondiscrimination" rule would have the ironic effect of actively discriminating against any kind of content or application that is differentiated by its need for greater assurance of higher quality transmission across the Internet (known as quality of service, or QoS) than undifferentiated best-effort delivery can offer. This result not only would reduce static efficiency by encouraging higher consumer prices, but also would reduce dynamic efficiency by retarding innovation. The proposed rule manifests an inverse relationship between means and ends, for it would actively thwart the Commission's stated purpose of promoting innovation both in and at the edges of the network. These economic considerations set the bar very high for those who claim that the new regulation is needed to prevent theoretical harms that have not materialized in more than a decade of real-world experience. By now, the economic arguments in favor of network neutrality regulation have coalesced around three principal theories. The first is the theory that, if permitted to charge suppliers of content or applications for optional higher quality delivery, network operators will ignore positive spillover effects and set charges at higher than socially optimal levels. The second is the theory that vertically integrated network operators will foreclose independent providers of Internet content and applications. A third and less clearly articulated theory is that the broadband ISP will degrade the quality of best-effort delivery of Internet packets—reducing the quality of best-effort delivery to that of a "dirt road"—as a means of coercing suppliers of content or applications into purchasing superior QoS. We show that none of these three theories of harm is plausible. Certainly, none justifies the proposed across-the-board ban on optional business-to-business QoS transactions between ISPs and content providers—transactions that could prove particularly valuable to smaller content providers looking to differentiate their offerings from and compete with larger content rivals that have the scale and resources to meet their QoS needs with third-party or self-deployed content delivery networks.

July 19, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Demand Cross Elasticity Without Substitutability: Evidence from an Experiment

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Luigi Luini, University of Siena - Department of Economics and Pierluigi Sabbatini, Government of the Italian Republic (Italy) - Italian Competition Authority address Demand Cross Elasticity Without Substitutability: Evidence from an Experiment.

ABSTRACT: We study a market where goods are produced under low marginal costs with a poor degree of substitutability among products. In such an environment we ran an experiment in order to explain why prices are interdependent even when preferences are independent. We compare our results to previous theoretical and laboratory experimental literature on price fairness. We find that, even in absence of interaction among subjects, price fairness/unfairness do play a major role in accepting/rejecting a deal. Subjects tend to be more resistant to a price increase and reject a deal when the favourite product is not anchored to price increases of not substitutable products, if these products are considered to be a benchmark for fair conduct. Therefore demand cross elasticity can arise also between products which are not substitutes. This result has an important implication for the delineation of an antitrust market. Due to fairness concerns, in the markets that we consider products which are not interchangeable should be included in the relevant market.

July 19, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monopsony in Law and Economics

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

My colleagues and friends Roger Blair (University of Florida - Econ) and Jeff Harrison (University of Florida - Law) have the excellent 2nd edition coming out of Monopsony in Law and Economics.  The book significantly revises the first edition, which came out in 1993.

ABSTRACT: Most readers are familiar with the concept of a monopoly. A monopolist is the only seller of a good or service for which there are not good substitutes. Economists and policy makers are concerned about monopolies because they lead to higher prices and lower output. The topic of this book is monopsony, the economic condition in which there is one buyer of a good or service. It is a common misunderstanding that if monopolists raise prices, then monopsonists must lower them. It is true that a monopsonist may force sellers to sell to them at lower prices, but this does not mean consumers are better off as a result. This book explains why monopsonists can be harmful and the way law has developed to respond to these harms.

1. Introduction; 2. The antitrust laws and monopsonistic forms of conduct; 3. Economic theory of monopsony; 4. The antitrust response to monopsony and collusive monopsony; 5. Cooperative buying efforts; 6. Bilateral monopoly; 7. Monopsony and antitrust enforcement; 8. Monopsony in action: agricultural markets; 9. Monopsony in action: the NCAA; 10. Monopsony in action: physician collective bargaining: monopoly or bilateral monopoly; 11. Final comments.

July 19, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Getting Linkedin to Antitrust and Competition Issues

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Ever wonder who the other readers of the blog are and your potential opportunities to network with them?  I have created a Linkedin site for readers of the blog to network and post announcements on substantive issues and also on any job announcements and tenders.  Click here to join.  If anyone can create a logo for the site, please let me know.

July 19, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Product Innovation and Adoption in Market Equilibrium: The Case of Digital Cameras

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Juan Esteban Carranza (Universidad Icesi) explores Product Innovation and Adoption in Market Equilibrium: The Case of Digital Cameras.

ABSTRACT: This paper contains an empirical dynamic model of supply and demand in the market for digital cameras with endogenous product innovation. On the demand side, heterogeneous consumers time optimally the purchase of goods depending on the expected evolution of prices and characteristics of available cameras. On the supply side, firms introduce new camera models accounting for the dynamic value of new products and the optimal behavior of consumers. The model is estimated using data from the market for digital cameras and the estimated model replicates rich dynamic features of the data. The estimated model is used to perform counterfactual computations, which suggest that more competition or lower product introduction costs generate more product variety but lower average product quality.

July 19, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Workshop on Competition Policy in Mauritius

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

On 20th July 2010, the Competition Commission of Mauritius, (CCM), will host a workshop on “Competition Policy in Mauritius” at Sugar Beach Resort.

The Honourable Yatin Varma, Attorney-General , will open the ceremony and the Mr Satyajit Boolell, Director Public Prosecution will present on the Competition Act 2007.

The Keynote speaker will be Dr Frédéric Jenny, Judge at the Cour de Cassation and Chairman of the OECD Competition Committee. Dr Frédéric Jenny is one of the leading world authorities on competition policy. He is a respected academic economist who also sits as a judge and as a decision-maker on the Board of the OFT, the UK competition agency. He was closely involved in the establishment of what is now Autorité de la Concurrence in France and served as its Vice-President from 1993 to 2004. Dr Frédéric Jenny is being hosted by the Competition Commission of Mauritius for a three-day visit. During this time, as well as the workshop, he will conduct seminars for CCM staff and meet justices of the Supreme Court to help them prepare for their appeal role.

The workshop will also provide for a panel discussion on selected topics on competition policy, with expert speakers, including Pierre Dinan, Sanjeev Ghurburrun, Raj Makoond, and Dr Frédéric Jenny.

John Davies, Executive Director of the CCM said yesterday “I am delighted to have such a prestigious guest as Dr Frédéric Jenny speaking at this workshop. As a world authority on competition policy he will greatly enhance our understanding of competition issues, we are looking forward to benefiting from his wide ranging knowledge and experience.”

“This workshop is perfectly timed, as the CCM has recently released its first report and competition policy is coming into focus in Mauritius. I therefore expect and hope for lively debate on the topic.”

If you are interested in attending please contact the CCM to RSVP: Ph: 211 2005 211 2005  or email info@ccm.mu
 
Agenda
 
Brief on Dr Frédéric Jenny
 

July 18, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Impact of China’s Antitrust Law and other Competition Policies on U.S. Companies

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

House Judiciary Committee this past week on had hearings on the Impact of China’s Antitrust Law and other Competition Policies on U.S. Companies.  See here for the testimony.

July 17, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Transition and Transformations in Latin American Competition Law and Policy: An Introduction

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

I have a new piece that introduces the newest CPI Antitrust Chronicle (I am on the editorial board) for the Latin American issue.  My piece is Transition and Transformations in Latin American Competition Law and Policy: An Introduction.

ABSTRACT: Last year, Eleanor Fox and I published Latin American Competition Law and Policy. We attempted to fill a gap by editing a volume that examined how Latin American countries addressed competition law and policy, both at the country level and regionally. What emerged from the book was a picture of a region in which there were many industry changes underway. Latin America is a diverse region, with countries at different levels of antitrust effectiveness based on agency financial resources and human capital constraints. Larger economic, political, and legal institutions in the country also shape the contours of the effectiveness of the various Latin American competition systems. This CPI Antitrust Chronicle issue explores some of the current competition issues challenging several countries in Latin America.

July 17, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Building Institutions for Development: CADE's Internship Program

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

The International Advisor at CADE has asked me to post the following:

CADE's Internship Program (www.cade.gov.br/pincade).

 

Since mid 1990's the Brazilian Antitrust Authority (CADE) successfully holds a biannual Internship Program. In each term of the program students from all over the country experience the daily life of one of the most important Antitrust Authorities in Latin America. During their month in Brasília, students have both practical and theoretical contact with antitrust law and policy, for they get involved in the major challenges of the country practice in competition law. Students are selected after a competitive selection procedure in which meritocracy plays a leading role. Since its very beginning, PinCADE (CADE's Internship program) is known for your excellence in providing useful training in antitrust law for students willing to learn it and practice afterwards.

 

The XXX Edition (July 2010) has attained an outstanding accomplishment. After a thoroughly planning and reformulation of the program three goals have been defined: diversity, meritocracy and internationalization. In all of them is this thirtieth edition overwhelmingly successful.

 

To begin with, for the first time since its creation the program receives students from 14 Brazilian States, it means more than 50% of the entire Federation.

 

Secondly professional and academic merit became the criteria to choose participants to the internship.

 

Lastly the program became an international venture, having special importance in Latin America. Since 2009 14 countries already sent representatives to the program and the last edition counts with authorities from eight countries.

 

International though are not only the participants but also the teachers that shall deliver lectures along the program. Professor George L. Priest from Yale Law School is expected to lecture about economic growth and antitrust law; US FTC Commissioner William E. Kovacic shall lecture on legal reform and antitrust in Latin America. The head of the Portuguese Competition Authority Manuel Sebastião and the Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Competition Bureau Michael Sullivan will also hold a talk with the interns. The program now spreads its importance to Latin America and receives contributions to its improvement from all over the world.

 

Those are a few reasons why the internship program constitutes one of the most powerful tools of the Brazilian Antitrust Authority to broaden and disseminate the competition culture along the country. It represents also a very important mechanism able to shape Brazilian development toward a fair and long standing development cycle.

 

In this context CADE's internship program constitutes a an important contribution to the efforts to create adequate institutions to enhance and promote development in Brazil.

 

Please feel free to contact me should you have any further questions. 

 

Thank you very much.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

José Antonio Ziebarth.

 

José Antonio Batista de Moura Ziebarth

jose.batista@cade.gov.br

International Advisor

Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica – CADE

Brazilian Competition Tribunal

SCN Quadra 2 Projeção "C"

CEP 70712-902 - Brasília – DF - Brasil

Tel.: (55) (61) 3221.8404 – Fax: (55) (61) 3221-8589

www.cade.gov.br

July 16, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Competition and horizontal integration in maritime freight transport

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Pedro Cantos Sanchez (ERI-CES), Rafael Moner-Colonques (ERI-CES), Jose Sempere-Monerris (ERI-CES), and Oscar Alvarez (IEI) address Competition and horizontal integration in maritime freight transport.

ABSTRACT: This paper develops a theoretical model for freight transport characterized by competition between means of transport (the road and maritime sectors), where modes are perceived as differentiated products. Competitive behavior is assumed in the road freight sector, and there are constant returns to scale. In contrast, the freight maritime sector is characterized by oligopolistic behavior, where shipping lines enjoy economies of scale. The market equilibrium where the shipping lines behave as profit maximizers, provides a first approximation to the determinants of market shares, profits, and user welfare. We then characterize the equilibrium when horizontal integration of shipping lines occurs, with and without further economies of scale. An empirical application to the routes Valencia-Antwerp and Valencia-Genoa uncovers that the joint profit of the merged firms and social welfare always increase. However, user surplus onl! y increases when economies of scale are significantly exploited

July 16, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Consumer Shopping Costs as a Cause of Slotting Fees: A Rent-Shifting Mechanism

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Stéphane Caprice (Toulouse School of Economics and GREMAQ-INRA) and Vanessa von Schlippenbach (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW) Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) discuss Consumer Shopping Costs as a Cause of Slotting Fees: A Rent-Shifting Mechanism.

ABSTRACT: Analyzing a sequential bargaining framework with one retailer and two suppliers of substitutable goods, we show that slotting fees may emerge as a result of a rent-shifting mechanism when consumer shopping costs are taken into account. If consumers economize on their shopping costs by bundling their purchases, their buying decision depends rather on the price for the whole shopping basket than on individual product prices. This induces complementarities between the goods offered at a retail outlet. If the complementarity effect resulting from shopping costs dominates the original substitution effect, the wholesale price negotiated with the first supplier is upward distorted in order to shift rent from the second supplier. As long as the first supplier has only little bargaining power, she compensates the retailer for the upward distorted wholesale price by paying a slotting fee. We also show that banning slotting fees ca! uses per- unit price to fall and welfare to increase.

July 16, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Research Agendas: Mine and How I’ve Strayed

Posted by Spencer Weber Waller

I wanted to use this last post to take up Danny’s invitation to talk a little bit about my personal research agenda.  I have been teaching full-time for exactly twenty years now, split evenly between Brooklyn Law School and Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  Because I have served as Associate Dean at both schools, I have long urged my colleagues to develop and stick to a research agenda which sets out what they hope to accomplish over a three to five year period.

The idea is to think beyond your next article and try to articulate some themes that you will be developing in a series of projects for the medium term, without being an automaton who never has time to undertake other types of interesting projects because they are not on the list.  At the same time, the goal is also to avoid being an aimless wanderer exploring one unconnected idea after another without any visible connection.  For most people, a realistic research agenda can include a major theme and normally a minor theme.   I have had wonderful colleagues who have pursued different streams of scholarship on topics such as health care decision making by mature minors and then occasionally switched to shorter pieces on teaching pedagogy; or focused on incorporating happiness (not utility) into legal regimes with occasional forays into class actions and other complex litigation issues.

Only the most prolific can have multiple themes, or no themes at all, and thrive in legal academia.  It is critical to have some kind of a plan that you can articulate to hiring committees, deans, colleagues, and mostly important yourself when you are deciding on what projects to pursue, what symposia to attend or speak at, and most importantly when to say no (or at least not now) to interesting projects that are likely to be lengthy and unproductive detours.   So to practice what I preach let me give you an outline of my research agenda over the years and how it has evolved. 

When I entered academia, I was interested in two main themes that I was lucky enough to be able to explore in both my teaching and writing.  The first concerned the relationship between competition law and international trade law.  The second concerned the international application of US antitrust law to international commerce and the constraints imposed by jurisdictional limitations, comity, sovereign immunity, the act of state doctrine, the foreign sovereign compulsion doctrine, and related concepts. 

Looking back at my cv, I think I stuck reasonably well to my plan.  Most, but not all of my early articles, stuck to either or both of these themes.   Recognizing the specialized and international nature of most of this work, I am not surprised that these articles more typically appeared in specialty international law journal.   Outside events also affected the importance of these issues and my interest in continuing to pursue them in extended law review format.   Once the Supreme Court in Hartford Fire largely settled (rightly or wrongly) the debate over the proper role of comity in the extraterritorial application of the Sherman Act, I took one final swing at this topic (The Twilight of Comity, 38 Colum. J. Trans. L. 563 (2000), available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=988189) and moved on.  I continue to follow these topics in updating a treatise but have addressed other topics moving forward.

Somewhere in the middle of these early years of teaching, I also became interested in the history of antitrust law and certain key figures of that history.  First as a sidelight, and then as a more significant focus, I explored the antitrust thought and significance of such figures as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Robert Jackson, Edward Levy, Walton Hamilton, Milton Handler, Thurman Arnold, and eventually John Paul Stevens.  These inquiries exposed me to the joys and frustrations of archival research and the other tools of the trade of legal history.  Some of these inquiries proved to be frolics and detours but others turned into full articles, symposium pieces, or review essays. 

In the course of this research, I discovered what a truly unique person Thurman Arnold was besides his importance to US competition law.  I began to search for a biography to read about him and became immensely frustrated when I realized that none existed.  It was only sometime later that I took advantage of a research leave to do the archival research and interviews to produce that first biography of this complex and fascinating man who contributed so much to 20th century law and legal thought in addition to being a giant of the antitrust field as well. (Thurman Arnold: A Biography  http://www.amazon.com/Thurman-Arnold-Spencer-Weber-Waller/dp/0814793924/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1261424343&sr=8-1).

Along the way to working on the Thurman Arnold biography, I stumbled on the work of the business strategist Michael Porter, who was trained as an industrial organization economist.  His conception of competition opened up for me my next significant stream of scholarship.  I became increasingly interested how business scholars wrote about competition and how business schools taught business decision makers about this critical subject.  Over time, I focused on how business theory taught how to achieve durable market power through different techniques and strategies.  There appeared to be a serious disconnect with much of antitrust economics which often denied that such durable power is possible and more generally pays no attention to the business theory world.  In different articles, I have explored (and am still exploring) how the business world thinks, talks, and acts regarding strategic management, marketing, corporate finance, corporate governance, and brand management and how those concepts can be applied in the antitrust realm.

I find it odd that most of antitrust discourse ignores the discourse of the very business actors whose behavior is the subject of antitrust law in the first place.  My goal is to take the best of this business discourse and bring it into the antitrust debate as a supplement to the economic analysis we use on a daily basis.  The most recent example is Brands, Competition and the Law which I co-wrote with Deven Desai, who is now the academic liaison at Google.  It will be published sometime in the fall in the BYU Law Review and is available in draft form at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1545893.   Long-term, maybe this is a book or maybe just a couple more articles until I have exhausted the topic and my initial excitement on how business theory can be an important supplement to the way we currently think about antitrust.

Finally, a word about the essential facilities doctrine.  I always thought MCI got it right, Trinko got it wrong, and the rest of the world gets it more or less correct.  So after Trinko, I pursued a path which eventually turned into four articles (two with co-authors) where I critiqued Trinko; developed a theoretical framework for a well reasoned and cabined essential facilities doctrine; addressed some of the original critiques of the doctrine going back to a classic article by Phil Areeda; and surveyed how most of the major antitrust jurisdictions outside the U.S. handle similar issues.   I never particularly intended it to play out that way.  One thing just led to another.  Now I’ve had my say, people will agree or disagree, and I don’t plan to return to that subject any time soon.

On too many occasions, I have failed to follow my own advice and taken on projects that had nothing whatsoever with the themes I have described above.  Besides my abiding love for all things baseball, I have at least tried to stick to at least of whatever were my current themes at any given time.  When I have strayed from this path, and said yes to fun but unconnected projects, I have done my best to at least make them something short, like a symposium piece, an unpublished conference talk, or a book review.  At a minimum, I have tried to make such unrelated projects an “extra” and not an “instead of.”  I will leave it to others to determine how well I have succeeded.

July 16, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

What is a competitive market? The United Kingdom experience and lessons for Hong Kong

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Hong Kong University - Norton Rose Lecture Series
Second Annual Competition Law Lecture

What is a competitive market?
The United Kingdom experience
and lessons for Hong Kong

By Peter Freeman CBE, QC, Chairman
UK Competition Commission
Location:
Hong Kong University
Date: Thursday, 9 September 2010
Free registration
To register and for more details, please access  www.hkcompetitionlecture.org

Hong Kong University - Norton Rose Lecture Series

July 16, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)