The late and persistent apparent rise in margins pretty much everywhere in the U.S. economy is one of the most surprising things to happen in the past generation. I do not know anyone very confident they know why this has taken place, or what all of its implications are. But it does seem highly likely that it calls for tougher antitrust policy. Here we have some very smart words from a murderers' row of thoughtful experts:

Jonathan B. Baker, Nancy L. Rose, Steven C. Salop, and Fiona Scott Morton: Five Principles to Guide Vertical Merger Enforcement: "Agencies should consider and investigate the full range of potential anti-competitive harms.... Agencies should decline to presume that vertical mergers benefit competition on balance in... oligopoly markets.... Agencies should evaluate claimed efficiencies resulting from vertical mergers as carefully and critically as they evaluate claimed efficiencies resulting from horizontal mergers.... Agencies should decline to adopt a safe harbor for vertical mergers, even if rebuttable.... Agencies also should consider adopting presumptions (rebuttable) that a vertical merger harms competition when certain factual predicates are satisfied...


#noted #worthyreads

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