Antitrust Is Cool Again
Antitrust partner Michael L. Weiner, Chair of the New York State Bar Association Antitrust Law Section, writes: As the Trump administration enters its second year, it will bear close watching to see what its antitrust enforcement approach shapes up to be.
The primary aim of antitrust enforcement in the United States since the 1980s has been the maximization of consumer welfare. In practice, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have analyzed mergers, for example, with the goal of answering a relatively narrow question: How will the merger impact product prices and quality? This largely economic answer has demanded a largely economic answer, and the DOJ and FTC employ teams of economists who work alongside attorneys to understand the impact of mergers on consumer welfare. Over the last two years, however, some have begun to question whether the government's focus on consumer welfare effects in antitrust is appropriate.
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