Wednesday, May 27, 2020
It is with great sadness that I write that Nobel Laureate Oliver Williamson has passed away. His work on understanding transaction costs and the organization of firms was path-breaking and continues to have tremendous influence. He also fundamentally shaped the field of antitrust. Much of his early work was specific to antitrust economics. Even his famous 1974 book is titled Markets and Hierarchies: Analysis and Antitrust Implications. His 1968 paper in the American Economic Review, “Economies as an Antitrust Defense: The Welfare Trade-Offs,” framed merger analysis. His Williamsonian trade-off articulated in that article also was the basis for Robert Bork's "consumer" welfare standard for antitrust.