The American Antitrust Institute’s Ruled by Reason podcast explores current topics in progressive antitrust with experts from enforcement, business, and academia. Ruled by Reason guests discuss and debate the benefits of competition for markets, consumers, and workers. We delve into the importance of antitrust enforcement for promoting competition in our markets and democratic values in civil society.
What’s the Beef? How the Beef Packing Cartel Hurts Producers and Consumers and How Independent Cattle Producers and Processors Can Help Restore Competition and Choice
In this podcast, AAI President Diana Moss sits down with two leaders in the independent sector to discuss the fallout from decades of massive consolidation and rising concentration in beef packing. Her guests, Mike Callicrate and Patrick Robinette, run innovative, independent business operations in two different parts of the US. They discuss the state of competition in U.S. beef packing, which is dominated by four packing firms that control over 80% of the market. Next, they turn to problems of market access for smaller ranchers and processors and deceptive labeling that deprives consumers of informed choices. The conversation reveals that an industrial food system with little competition packs significant inefficiency and susceptibility to shocks like COVID-19. On the other hand, smaller operations provide needed competition and resiliency in the beef supply. Moss, Callicrate, and Robinette close with the importance of stronger antitrust enforcement in the beef packing sector and USDA initiatives that promote competition, price transparency, and the importance of alternative supply systems.
Market Power and Digital Business Ecosystems: A Discussion of the Impact of Economic and Business Complexity on Competition Analysis and Remedies
In this podcast, AAI President Diana Moss sits down with her two co-authors of the report "Market Power and Digital Business Ecosystems: Assessing the Impact of Economic and Business Complexity on Competition Analysis and Remedies.” Moss, Greg Gundlach, and Riley Krotz discuss competition issues raised by the large digital business ecosystems (DBEs). The report takes a multidisciplinary approach--incorporating economics, law, and business theory and research. It fills an important gap by focusing on the DBEs’ unique business and economic features, takeaways from which should inform the enforcement and legislative debate over reining in their market power. As Moss, Gundlach, and Krotz explain in the podcast, the report reveals important caveats and cautions regarding the application of conventional competition analysis to DBEs, with implications for how competition enforcers and legislators assess market power and design remedies, particularly in the merger and monopolization contexts.
The report was made possible by a grant from the Omidyar Network Fund, Inc.
Diana Moss, President, American Antitrust Institute
Gregory T. Gundlach, Professor of Marketing, Coggin College of Business, University of North Florida
Riley T. Krotz, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Texas Tech University
Class Action Issues Update: The Latest Developments and Looking Ahead to 2021 and Beyond
As part of its work to preserve the effectiveness of antitrust class actions as a central component of ensuring the vitality of private antitrust enforcement, the American Antitrust Institute issues periodic updates on developments in the courts and elsewhere that may affect this important device for protecting competition, consumers and workers. AAI’s Randy Stutz is joined by Hausfeld LLP’s Bonny Sweeney to discuss AAI’s Fall 2020 Class Action Issues Update and look ahead to 2021 and beyond.
They discuss classes containing uninjured members, common impact, statistical evidence (and related litigation strategy), TransUnion v. Ramirez and the Supreme Court’s new makeup, class-action legislative developments and goals, and the relationship of public and private enforcement in prosecuting Big Tech cases.
RANDY STUTZ, VICE PRESIDENT OF LEGAL ADVOCACY, AMERICAN ANTITRUST INSTITUTE GUEST:
BONNY SWEENEY, PARTNER, HAUSFELD
Antitrust Litigation in the Age of Big Data: How New Technology is Harnessed to Enforce the Antitrust Laws and Return Money to Victims
In this podcast, AAI Vice President of Policy Laura Alexander sits down with two leaders in private enforcement who are driving the use of data and technology to win antitrust cases and get money back into the hands of consumers and other victims. Adam Zapala, a partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, and Eric Schachter, a Vice President at A.B. Data, Ltd., discuss how digital technology, big data, and AI have increased efficiency and enabled them to bring and win cases that would not otherwise have been possible. Zapala and Schachter begin with a discussion of class notice and other manageability concerns. The far-ranging discussion, however, quickly turns to the use of social media and data analysis to detect conspiracies, the prospect of paying out class action settlements in cryptocurrencies, and how future privacy legislation may impact the tools that class administrators use to effectively reach modern class members.
Antitrust and Diversity in the Plaintiffs’ Bar: A Conversation With Two Leading Private Enforcers
In this podcast, AAI President Diana Moss sits down with leading private antitrust enforcers, Roberta D. Liebenberg and Heidi M. Silton. Liebenberg and Silton weave together their deep insights and experience to discuss key aspects of the importance and role of women and diverse attorneys in antitrust, and in the plaintiff’s bar, in particular. Moss, Liebenberg, and Silton begin with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the difficulties it poses for advancing diversity in the practice of antitrust law. They then turn to the broader topic of why antitrust is an important and rewarding practice area for diverse attorneys. As part of the conversation, they touch on the importance of diverse attorneys in leadership roles, best practices for plaintiff firms in advancing diversity, the importance of diversity as a business model, and ways to build community.
A Conversation on the Effects of Global Cartel Leniency Programs: Featuring Jerry S. Cohen Award for Antitrust Scholarship Winner Alminas Žaldokas, with Daniel Small and Jack Kirkwood
In this Ruled by Reason podcast, a winner of the 18th annual Jerry S. Cohen Award for Antitrust Scholarship, Alminas Žaldokas, discusses his article. The conversation is about “The Effects of Global Leniency Programs on Margins and Mergers” (50 Rand J. of Econ. 883 (2019)) and also features AAI Advisor Daniel Small of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and Seattle University School of Law Professor John B. Kirkwood.
In their article, Žaldokas and co-authors Ailin Dong and Massimo Massa investigated how passage of national leniency programs has affected firms’ margins and merger activity. The authors find that such programs reduce the gross margins of the affected firms, suggesting the programs are effective at reducing cartel activity. However, the authors also find that firms react to such programs by engaging in more mergers, and that those mergers are predominantly anticompetitive as they tend to have negative effects on downstream firms. Their empirical results imply that although leniency programs are generally effective, their benefits are offset to some extent by mergers that substitute for cartels. The authors thus advocate for stronger merger review.
The Cohen Award was created through a trust established in memory of the late Jerry S. Cohen, an outstanding trial lawyer and antitrust writer. It is administered by the law firm he founded, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll. The Cohen Award is given each year to the best antitrust writing during the prior year. A list of all Cohen Award winners is here.