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Ben Klein’s Reply to Coase

Popular Media Ben Klein’s new paper, “The Economic Lessons of Fisher Body – General Motors,” appears in the February 2007 issue of the International Journal of the Economics of Business. He . . .

Ben Klein’s new paper, “The Economic Lessons of Fisher Body – General Motors,” appears in the February 2007 issue of the International Journal of the Economics of Business. He is not about to give Ronald Coase the last word. Indeed, Klein writes, the newest evidence on the history of the relationship between Fisher and GM confirms his earlier claim that GM’s acquisition of Fisher in 1926 was a response to opportunistic behavior by Fisher. This evidence…

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

Loyalty Discount Propositions

TOTM One of the more interesting parts of the November 29 DOJ/FTC hearing on loyalty discounts (where I presented these remarks) was the panelists’ discussion of . . .

One of the more interesting parts of the November 29 DOJ/FTC hearing on loyalty discounts (where I presented these remarks) was the panelists’ discussion of a number of “propositions” advanced, for purposes of discussion only, by the agencies. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to discuss all the propositions. I’ve reproduced them below the fold, along with my own thoughts on whether they’re sound. (Please note the agencies’ insistence that “[t]hese propositions are solely for the purpose of discussion and do not necessarily represent the agencies’ views.”)

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

Bundled Discounts, Exclusive Dealing, and Liability Rules: Thoughts on Crane and Lambert on Bundled Discounts

TOTM Dan Crane and Thom (who has promised more remarks!) have now both posted their prepared remarks for the Section 2 hearings panel on bundled discounts. . . .

Dan Crane and Thom (who has promised more remarks!) have now both posted their prepared remarks for the Section 2 hearings panel on bundled discounts. Both call for bright-line, administrable liability rules for all forms of unilateral exclusionary conduct, and have important things to say about designing antitrust rules for bundled discounts. Both are worth reading in their entirety. Administrable rules that sensibly balance Type I and II errors are certainly an indisputably admirable goal for antitrust analysis and bundled discounts have proven to be a particularly tricky form of conduct for Section 2 analysis. Despite all of the agreement around here between Thom, Dan and I on the design of antitrust rules in a world of costly Type I errors, I think I have found a topic upon which I can at least offer a mild dissent (or at least a different perspective) regarding the usefulness of the analogy of various anticompetitive theories of bundled discounting practices to exclusive dealing.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

FTC/DOJ Exclusive Dealing Testimony Preview

TOTM As promised, I am posting here my powerpoint slides for my testimony on exclusive dealing at the FTC/DOJ Section 2 Hearings, as well as the . . .

As promised, I am posting here my powerpoint slides for my testimony on exclusive dealing at the FTC/DOJ Section 2 Hearings, as well as the two papers upon which my analysis is based…

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

FTC/ DOJ Section 2 Hearings Continue

TOTM The FTC/ DOJ Section 2 Hearings (aka Hearings on Section 2 of the Sherman Act: Single Firm Conduct as Related to Competition) continued earlier this . . .

The FTC/ DOJ Section 2 Hearings (aka Hearings on Section 2 of the Sherman Act: Single Firm Conduct as Related to Competition) continued earlier this week with a session on tying Wednesday featuring David Evans, Robin Cooper Feldman, Mark Popofsky, Donald Russell, Michael Waldman, and Robert Willig.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

Antitrust Canons

TOTM Matt Bodie’s “Canons” project continues over at Prawfs, and antitrust is up to bat.  I took a stab at a reading list which I believe . . .

Matt Bodie’s “Canons” project continues over at Prawfs, and antitrust is up to bat.  I took a stab at a reading list which I believe meet’s Matt’s criteria: articles that are essential to doing antitrust scholarship.  My long, but embarrassingly underinclusive list, is below the fold.  In particular, I have left out a good deal of more technical economics scholarship (though some appears on the list): the literature on merger simulation, post-Chicago models on specific vertical practices, nothing on immunities or exemptions, federalism, etc.

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Intellectual Property & Licensing

Hovenkamp on Slotting, Discounts, and Competition for Distribution

TOTM Like Thom, I also have spent the last few weeks reading Herbert Hovenkamp’s excellent new antitrust book, The Antitrust Enterprise: Principles and Execution. I am . . .

Like Thom, I also have spent the last few weeks reading Herbert Hovenkamp’s excellent new antitrust book, The Antitrust Enterprise: Principles and Execution. I am looking forward to Thom’s review in the Texas Law Review, and wholeheartedly agree with him that Hovenkamp’s book is an important and significant contribution to the antitrust literature (see also Randy Picker’s book review here describing “The Antitrust Enterprise as The Antitrust Paradox for a post-Chicago antitrust landscape”). I’m still digesting most of the book, and perhaps will share some more thoughts in this space later on, but thought I would chime in with some thoughts on two issues relevant to my own research on slotting contracts, discounts, and competition for product distribution.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

The Unconvincing Antitrust Case Against Wal-Mart

TOTM I recently picked up a copy of the July Harper’s Magazine to read an essay by Barry C. Lynn entitled, “Breaking the Chain: The Antitrust . . .

I recently picked up a copy of the July Harper’s Magazine to read an essay by Barry C. Lynn entitled, “Breaking the Chain: The Antitrust Case Against Wal-Mart.” If you can’t tell from the title, the basic point is that antitrust authorities should break up Wal-Mart and put an end to the immense havoc that the retail giant has caused the economy. There is very little in the way of actual analysis in the article. It is mostly hand waving about retail consolidation without economic coherence, with some dramatic parade-of-horribles-type hyberbole mixed in.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

Kinderstart v. Google Antitrust Coverage

TOTM Kinderstart.com has filed a suit against Google which includes an antitrust claim based on the theory that Google changed its ranking algorithm in a manner . . .

Kinderstart.com has filed a suit against Google which includes an antitrust claim based on the theory that Google changed its ranking algorithm in a manner that caused Kinderstart’s ranking to drop and revenues to plunge. HT: Antitrust Review. Eric Goldman has got this covered, including links to the complaint, analysis, Google’s motion to dismiss and related briefs, and the oral argument transcripts. The briefs and transcripts (antitrust arguments by Jonathan Jacobson at Wilson Sonsini) are well worth reading on the antitrust points.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection