Monday, February 27, 2023

Against Efforts to Simplify Antitrust

Against Efforts to Simplify Antitrust



Sean Sullivan

University of Iowa College of Law



Antitrust analysis is famously complex, fact intensive, and time consuming. But should we aspire for it to be otherwise? I offer two cautionary conjectures in opposition to the search for simpler rules. First, I conjecture that efforts to convert vague antitrust standards into clear rules will rarely succeed without abandoning the underlying standards that the rules were meant to simplify. Second, I conjecture that failed efforts at simplifying antitrust law will often have the opposite effect—increasing the apparent complexity and vagueness of this law. If these conjectures are correct, then the search for simpler rules could be not just unproductive but counterproductive in antitrust law.

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