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The Antitrust Paradigm: Restoring a Competitive Economy

The Antitrust Paradigm: Restoring a Competitive Economy

by Jonathan B. Baker


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A new and urgently needed guide to making the American economy more competitive at a time when tech giants have amassed vast market power.

The U.S. economy is growing less competitive. Large businesses increasingly profit by taking advantage of their customers and suppliers. These firms can also use sophisticated pricing algorithms and customer data to secure substantial and persistent advantages over smaller players. In our new Gilded Age, the likes of Google and Amazon fill the roles of Standard Oil and U.S. Steel.

Jonathan Baker shows how business practices harming competition manage to go unchecked. The law has fallen behind technology, but that is not the only problem. Inspired by Robert Bork, Richard Posner, and the “Chicago school,” the Supreme Court has, since the Reagan years, steadily eroded the protections of antitrust. The Antitrust Paradigm demonstrates that Chicago-style reforms intended to unleash competitive enterprise have instead inflated market power, harming the welfare of workers and consumers, squelching innovation, and reducing overall economic growth. Baker identifies the errors in economic arguments for staying the course and advocates for a middle path between laissez-faire and forced deconcentration: the revival of pro-competitive economic regulation, of which antitrust has long been the backbone.

Drawing on the latest in empirical and theoretical economics to defend the benefits of antitrust, Baker shows how enforcement and jurisprudence can be updated for the high-tech economy. His prescription is straightforward. The sooner courts and the antitrust enforcement agencies stop listening to the Chicago school and start paying attention to modern economics, the sooner Americans will reap the benefits of competition.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674975781
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 05/06/2019
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jonathan B. Baker, a former Director of the Bureau of Economics at the Federal Trade Commission, is a Research Professor of Law at American University. He has also worked as the Chief Economist of the Federal Communications Commission, a Senior Economist on the Council of Economic Advisers, a Special Assistant in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, and an antitrust lawyer in private practice. He is the former editorial chair of a leading antitrust law journal and coauthor of a leading antitrust law casebook. Baker has received the Jerry S. Cohen Award for Antitrust Scholarship, American University’s Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Other Professional Accomplishments, and the FTC’s Award for Distinguished Service.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

I The Market Power Paroxysm and the Antitrust Paradigm 9

1 Market Power in an Era of Antitrust 11

2 The Faltering Political Consensus Supporting Antitrust 32

3 Preventing the Political Misuse of Antitrust 53

4 Recalibrating Error Costs and Presumptions 71

5 Erroneous Arguments against Enforcement 81

II Antitrust Rules and the Information Economy 97

6 Inferring Agreement and Algorithmic Coordination 99

7 Exclusionary Conduct by Dominant Platforms 119

8 Threats to Innovation from Lessened Competition 150

9 Harms to Suppliers, Workers, and Platform Users 176

III Looking Forward 195

10 Restoring a Competitive Economy 197

Notes 211

References 301

Acknowledgments 337

Index 339

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