New Antitrust Realism

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Maurice Stucke, Jan 20, 2009

There is no shortage of speculation about competition policy in the Obama administration. President-elect Barack Obama criticized the Bush administration for having “what may be the weakest record of antitrust enforcement of any administration in the last half century” and promised to “reinvigorate antitrust enforcement” and “step up review of merger activity.” Thus, for ideological and practical reasons, the Obama administration will not adopt its predecessor’s antitrust policies. So if change is afoot, what form will change take? This essay outlines the needed transformative change in today’s competition policy. The essay proposes more empirical analysis by the U.S. competition authorities, outlines how behavioral economics can assist in this new antitrust realism, and concludes in explaining why such antitrust realism is needed.

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