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If Search Neutrality Is the Answer, What's the Question? PDF Print E-mail
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We are pleased to announce the first paper in our 2011 Antitrust and Consumer Protection White Paper Series, "If Search Neutrality is the Answer, What's the Question?" by Geoffrey A. Manne of Lewis & Clark Law School and ICLE, and Joshua D. Wright of George Mason Law School & Department of Economics and ICLE.

In this paper we evaluate both the economic and non-economic costs and benefits of search bias. In Part I we define search bias and search neutrality, terms that have taken on any number of meanings in the literature, and survey recent regulatory concerns surrounding search bias. In Part II we discuss the economics and technology of search. In Part III we evaluate the economic costs and benefits of search bias. We demonstrate that search bias is the product of the competitive process and link the search bias debate to the economic and empirical literature on vertical integration and the generally-efficient and pro-competitive incentives for a vertically integrated firm to discriminate in favor of its own content. Building upon this literature and its application to the search engine market, we conclude that neither an ex ante regulatory restriction on search engine bias nor the imposition of an antitrust duty to deal upon Google would benefit consumers. In Part V we evaluate the frequent claim that search engine bias causes other serious, though less tangible, social and cultural harms. As with the economic case for search neutrality, we find these non-economic justifications for restricting search engine bias unconvincing, and particularly susceptible to the well-known Nirvana Fallacy of comparing imperfect real world institutions with romanticized and unrealistic alternatives.

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The Economics of Payment Card Interchange Fees and the Limits of Regulation PDF Print E-mail

We are pleased to announce the release of the first paper (and related conference--please see the post below) in the ICLE Financial Regulatory Program White Paper Series.

The paper, by Todd J. Zywicki (ICLE Senior Fellow and Foundation Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law), is entitled, "The Economics of Payment Card Interchange Fees and the Limits of Regulation."

The timing of the paper's release couldn't be more fortuitous, as Congress reconvenes next week and begins to confer over the language of the Durbin Amendment to the "Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010."  The Durbin Amendment would impose price controls on debit card interchange fees and would restrict the use by credit and debit card networks of certain network rules.  As Todd described it recently in a Washington Times op-ed:

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Interchange Fee Blog Symposium e-Book PDF Print E-mail
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On December 8 and 9, 2009, ICLE sponsored a blog symposium at Truth on the Market on "The Law and Economics of Interchange Fees and Credit Card Markets."  We had an all-star roster of contributors and a set of provocative posts and lively comments.  While the "live" blog symposium can be found at the "credit card symposium" link at the blog (, we have produced a pdf e-book of the symposium including all of the posts and comments.  It is our hope that the e-book will be a valuable off-line resource for policy makers, academics, students and other interested folks alike.

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Comments Regarding Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement PDF Print E-mail


ICLE filed a comment with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division on December 31, 2009 in response to the Division's request for public comments on Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement Issues in Our 21st Century Economy.  The authors of the essay are F. Scott Kieff, Geoffrey A. Manne, Michael E. Sykuta, and Joshua D. Wright.  The comment should be available for free download from the DOJ webpage when the public comments are posted and is available here (pdf).


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