As the economists and lawyers contributing to this volume demonstrate, an important element of the Reagan Revolution has been a fundamental shift in antitrust policy and enforcement away from the focus on market structure during the 1960s and early 1970s toward a greater emphasis on the effects of business conduct on economic efficiency and consumer welfare. This shift, caused both by a marked change in the political climate and changes in the thinking and research output of economists, has had an enormous impact on the volume and substance of antitrust activity during the 1980s. The articles collected hereeach written especially for this volumeassess these changes in antitrust activity in key policy areas: mergers, vertical restraints, monopoly, and strategic behavior.
The authors examine particularly the impact of the change in antitrust enforcement and policy on social welfare. They point out where changes have been beneficial, evaluate whether further changes in policy or law are desirable, and probe unresolved issues, such as whether current policy pays too little attention to the possible strategic or anticompetitive aspects of some forms of business conduct. Taken together, these essays offer a multifaceted explanation of the ways in which economics has contributed to changes in antitrust policy and law. By providing a more thorough understanding of developments in industrial economics during the last 30 years, the authors also provide lawyers, economists, business executives, and students of business administration with new insights into possible future trends in antitrust policy and lawand their impact on the structure of American businesses and markets.