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.
Praise and Constructive Criticism: The Pro-Enforcement Community Weighs in on the Draft Merger Guidelines
On this episode of Ruled by Reason, AAI’s Kathleen Bradish talks with Open Market’s Sandeep Vaheesan and the American Economic Liberties Project’s Erik Peinert about the pro-enforcement community’s views on the draft Merger Guidelines recently released by the FTC and DOJ. This is a wide-ranging and in-depth discussion about how the proposed changes succeed in advancing better merger enforcement, where they fall short, and what beneficial modifications could be made to the final version.
Using each organization’s comments to the draft Guidelines as the jumping off point, Bradish talks with Vaheesan and Peinert about the proper role of guidelines, the importance of structural presumptions, the differences between treatment of vertical and horizontal mergers, and the viability of the efficiencies defense. The discussion concludes with thoughts about how to maximize the practical impact and the long-term viability of the Guidelines.
How Should Antitrust Tackle Antitrust’s “Duty to Deal” in the Tech Sector? A Conversation With Erik Hovenkamp, 2023 Jerry S. Cohen Award Winner for Antitrust Scholarship
In this episode of Ruled by Reason, guest host Roger Noll, Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at Stanford University and AAI Advisor sits down with Erik Hovenkamp to chat about his award-winning article The Antitrust Duty to Deal in the Age of Big Tech” (131 Yale L.J. 1483 (2022)). Professor Hovenkamp is Assistant Professor at the USC Gould School of Law. His article argues that the law on exclusive dealing has failed to distinguish between “primary” and “secondary” refusals to deal. The article explains that the suffocating evidentiary requirements imposed on refusal to deal claims should not be applied to secondary refusals to deal because they do not implicate the same innovation concerns that motivate suspicion of “primary” refusal to deal claims. Instead, Hovenkamp argues that secondary refusal to deal claims should be evaluated analogously to tying or related vertical restraints.
Antitrust scholarship that is considered and selected for the Jerry S. Cohen Award reflects a concern for principles of economic justice, the dispersal of economic power, the maintenance of effective limitations upon economic power or the federal statutes designed to protect society from various forms of anticompetitive activity. Scholarship reflects an awareness of the human and social impacts of economic institutions upon individuals, small businesses and other institutions necessary to the maintenance of a just and humane society–values and concerns Jerry S. Cohen dedicated his life and work to fostering.
Unpacking the 2023 Revised Merger Guidelines: A Conversation With the U.S. Department of Justice
On this episode of Ruled by Reason, AAI President, Diana Moss, and AAI Vice President for Legal Advocacy, Kathleen Bradish talk with leadership at the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division about the newly released merger guidelines. Moss and Bradish are joined by Susan Athey, Chief Economist for the Antitrust Division and Michael Kades, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division. This is the 7th revision of the merger guidelines since they were first released by the antitrust agencies in 1968. The revisions are notable for many reasons, not the least of which is their timing, which comes at an inflection point in antitrust enforcement and competition policy. The draft guidelines address a number of growing concerns around consolidation, including high and rising concentration, high barriers to entry, and the emergence of dominant firms and tight oligopolies in key markets. The revised guidelines also take on issues not addressed head on by previous agency guidance, such as the effect of mergers on the loss of worker bargaining power, firm growth through “serial acquisitions,” the complexities of partial ownership and control, elimination of potential entrants, and the emergence of business models, such as digital ecosystems with multisided platforms. Today’s episode unpacks these and other key takeaways from the draft merger guidelines.
The Cloud Technology Market: Storm of Innovation or Rainy Days for Competition?
On this episode of Ruled by Reason, AAI President, Diana Moss, and AAI Vice President for Legal Advocacy, Kathleen Bradish talk about competition and cloud technology markets. AAI recently issued the report: The Cloud Technology Market: Storm of Innovation or Rainy Days for Competition? Moss and Bradish unpack AAI’s analysis of a vitally important market in the digital economy, beginning with the explosive growth in cloud computing over the last two and a half decades. The report identifies the major cloud players and asks: What is the state of competition in the market? For example, is technological dynamism driving new entry? Are players jockeying for position by stealing share from each other? What does this all mean for how cloud providers compete with one another and are they any warning signs that competition may be flagging? Most important, how should antitrust enforcers and competition policymakers be thinking about promoting competition in cloud?
How Do We Fix the Competition Problem in Shipping? The Role for Private Actions under the Shipping Act
On this episode of Ruled by Reason, AAI Vice President for Legal Advocacy Kathleen Bradish hosts J. Wyatt Fore and David Golden of Constantine Canon to discuss their work in private antitrust enforcement under the Shipping Act. They explain how consolidation in the shipping industry has led to a serious competition problem, one that came into full view when COVID-19 exposed a dangerous lack of resilience in the supply chain. The conversation covers the role of the Federal Maritime Commission in antitrust enforcement and the role for private enforcement in working alongside the FMC to encourage greater competition in shipping. Wyatt and David discuss their own experience litigating in front of the FMC and improvements that can be made to the process to make it easier for private plaintiffs to bring meritorious claims. This episode is for anyone interested in finding out more about competition in an industry that touches on nearly every aspect of our lives. After listening, head over to the AAI website to read Wyatt and Kathleen’s white paper “Competition Enforcement, Private Actions and the Shipping Act” for a deeper dive on the issues raised here.
Private Equity’s Impact on Physician Practices: Unpacking Markets, Competition, and Prices
On this episode of Ruled by Reason, AAI President Diana Moss hosts two leading healthcare competition experts. Laura Alexander is Director of Markets and Competition Policy at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and Brent Fulton is Associate Research Professor of Health Economics and Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Associate Director of the Petris Center on Health Care Markets and Consumer Welfare. They take up an increasingly troubling issue in healthcare competition: growing private equity ownership of physician practices. The conversation previews major takeaways from a soon to be released study between AAI, UC Berkeley, and WCEG, funded by a grant from the Arnold Foundation. Moss, Alexander, and Fulton discuss the penetration of private equity ownership in the U.S. across a variety of physician practice areas, growth in market share and concentration, and effects on prices. This episode is a must-listen for those following consolidation in critical healthcare markets and its implications for prices, healthcare costs, antitrust enforcement and healthcare policy.