Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Michael Funk, and Christian Jaag offer The MORE ECONOMIC APPROACH TO PREDATORY PRICING .
ABSTRACT: The “more economic approach” was introduced to antitrust to achieve a more effect-based and theoretically grounded enforcement. However, related to predatory pricing it resulted in systematic over- and under-enforcement: Economic theory does not require dominance for predation to be a rational (and harmful) strategy, although an ex ante dominant firm would often refrain from predation. Hence, within the current legal framework which requires dominance for antitrust to apply, a more effect-based and theoretically grounded antitrust enforcement cannot pursue harmful predation. Therefore, we suggest separating predatory pricing from exclusionary abuse of a dominant firm, both legally and analytically. Instead, predatory pricing should be analyzed along the same logic as a merger. In particular, we argue that three elements from merger control should be adopted: in the absence of dominance, market share and/or turnover thresholds may serve as a de minimis rule; recoupment should be analyzed similar to the competitive effect of a merger between the predator and its prey; and a stronger efficiency defense should be established.