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Blog o’ Blogs May 2015

 |  June 16, 2015

May 2015, Volume 5, Number 5





We first analyze the collapse of the Comcast/Time Warner merger, then update the debate about the competitive effects of mutual fund cross-ownership as well as the Google and eCommerce inquiries. We ask if robots can violate antitrust laws, and follow with looks at car sales and drug price spikes.




The Role of Economic Analysis in the Comcast Time Warner Cable Merger

There is much fodder in this case including the analysis of two-sided platforms, monopoly bottlenecks, bargaining theory, vertical restraints, and the use of natural experiments to test hypotheses.

David S. Evans (Global Economics Group, Univ. of Chicago)





The Death of the Comcast Deal

The future was clear to see in Comcast’s prior conduct—it was already using what power it had to weaken its competitors. 

Tim Wu (The New Yorker)




end start

Are we kidding ourselves on competition?

Are wealthy shareholders likely to exercise market power and harm consumers overall? 

Joshua Gans (Digitopoly)




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More on mutual funds and antitrust

We don’t oppose all mutual funds, just those that cartelize industries.

Eric Posner (Financial Regulation)




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How Passive Funds Prevent Competition

Last week, Nelson Peltz’s hedge fund Trian lost a proxy fight at DuPont. Pay attention to the dog that didn’t bark.

Martin Schmalz (Financial Regulation)




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Europe’s Google Problem

From here, the European charges against Google look a lot like protectionism.

Joe Nocera (NY Times)




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The European Commission, Google, and the Limits of Antitrust

When government intervenes heavily and often in markets to “correct” perceived “abuses,” private actors have a strong incentive to expend resources on achieving government actions that disadvantage their rivals.

Alden Abbott (Truth on the Market)





How to distinguish between tying and refusal to deal cases

The easiest way to go about the question is to think backwards about the case. In other words, it makes sense to think first about the remedy and then about the legal test.

Pablo Ibanez Colomo (Chillin’ Competition)




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EU sets out plan to shake up Europe’s digital market

US technology trade associations also warned that European regulators had shown little appetite for the light touch that had allowed internet companies to thrive in the US.

Duncan Robinson, Murad Ahmed, Richard Waters (Financial Times)




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European Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy Is Storming The Border Walls in E-Commerce

The EC is concerned that online retailers may restrict cross-border online trade within the EU by deliberately creating technical and/or contractual barriers. 

Yulia Tosheva and James Ashe-Taylor (Antitrust Today)





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Direct-to-consumer auto sales: It’s not just about Tesla

Blanket prohibitions on direct manufacturer sales to consumers are an anomaly within the larger economy.

Marina Lao, Debbie Feinstein, and Francine Lafontaine (FTC Competition Matters)




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When Bots Collude

It’s likely that bot-driven price-fixing is more prevalent than the lack of prosecutions suggests.

Jill Priluck (The New Yorker)




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From the antitrust mailbag: What can the FTC do about prescription drug price spikes? 

Since last year alone, the FTC has required divestitures in ten merger cases involving dozens of pharmaceutical products.

Alan Friedman (FTC Competition Matters)







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