"Influence of Conservative Economic Analysis on the Development of the Law of Antitrust"

Michigan Law Authors
Publish Date
How the Chicago School Overshot the Mark: The Effect of Conservative Economic Analysis on U.S. Antitrust
Publication Type
Book Chapter

This paper begins by noting a widespread unease, indeed a sense of “something gone wrong”—with today's antitrust enforcement. In particular, it notes a growing sense of too much emphasis on oversimplified and unrealistic economic models and too little emphasis on actual market effects. In an effort to understand Chicago School influence, the paper looks back to the 1950s and 1960s and describes the inviting target offered by excessive antitrust enforcement during those decades, citing many Supreme Court decisions ridiculed by almost all today. The Chicago School succeeded in part because of the nature of its opponent. Despite Chicago's undoubted, and generally constructive influence, it has not always achieved its sought-after outcomes. State-engineered exemptions from the federal antitrust laws (the “State Action Doctrine”) have grown in a way contrary to a primary reliance on the free market; there is no sign of Chicago influence in the federal legislative arena, and there is a growing concern about Chicago's oversimplified and unrealistic economic models that seem to ignore actual market facts.

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