Rethinking Antitrust Law in an Age of Network Industries

Nov 19, 2007

Economists have recognized the increasing role of network industries in our modern economy and have substantially advanced the understanding of network economics. This paper discusses how the special economic features of networks and, in particular, practices that networks adopt to enhance network benefits, requires a reconceptualization of modern antitrust analysis. The proposition is demonstrated by the example of several recent antitrust prosecutions of network practices where the economics of networks were largely ignored. The paper also discusses many cases in the antitrust canon that are more adequately analyzed when the network character of the practice is taken into account. The paper propose a reorganization of antitrust analysis to distinguish the fundamental economic analysis of network practices from the analysis of horizontal and vertical industrial practices.

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