July 17, 2020
Antitrust Policy in the 21st Century: Is There a Need for Reform?
Read transcript here
Josh Wright opened the session with a reasonably full-throated defense of the current antitrust regime. He believes that concerns over concentration are overstated, that the consumer welfare standard, broadly understood, has served as the right touchstone for US antitrust policy, and that US antitrust policy best emerges through a case-by-case basis rather than through some sort of broader intervention. He would favor additional resources for federal regulators and would like to see more federal intervention into state-sponsored monopolies.
Jon Baker had the opposite view. Not totally but he thought that the underlying facts ran the other direction: increasing market power, rising margins and reduced dynamism. He thought that the error-cost regime associated with the Chicago School had to too little litigation and that antitrust agencies needed to be more aggressive in bringing cases. But for that to be really successful, some Supreme Court caselaw, particularly Amex, needed to be reset to create more space for successful antitrust litigation.