Tying and Consumer Harm

Daniel Crane, Dec 20, 2012

Brantley raises important issues of law, economics, and policy about tying arrangements. Under current legal principles, Brantley was on solid ground in distinguishing between anticompetitive ties and those that might harm consumer interests without impairing competition. As a mat- ter of economics, the court was also right to reject the claim that the cable programmers forced consumers to pay for programs the customers didn’t want. The hardest question is a policy one- whether antitrust law should ever condemn the exploitation of market power in ways that extract surplus from consumers but do not create or enlarge market power. I shall argue that Brantley got this last question right as well.

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