Competition Corner by Alden Abbott - In Consumer Welfare We Trust



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Competition Corner by Alden Abbott
Competition Corner by Alden Abbott - In Consumer Welfare We Trust
By Alden Abbott  • Issue #4 • View online
The consumer welfare standard (CWS) has been a staple in antitrust analysis for the better part of 40 years, surviving relatively unharmed through both Democratic and Republican administrations over its lifetime. A shift has occurred in the past few years, and when reflecting on the ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting last week I realize that the days of a wholesale defense of the CWS are likely behind us.
In an attempt to correct this mistake, I have focused this month on pushing back against detractors of the consumer welfare standard. First, I kindly put forth edits to the recent letter from the Antitrust Division to the Judiciary Committee Leadership, supporting proposed antitrust legislation. Next, I lay out a path forward for thinking about the CWS in a dynamic economy and defend the CWS in a pair of responses in ProMarket and the Wall Street Journal. Finally, Andrew Mercado and Christopher Kaiser discuss why monopoly fears in the economy are overblown and why there is no cause for alarm.

Suggested Redline Edits to the DOJ’s Letter to Judiciary Committee Leadership | Truth on the Market
Toward a Dynamic Consumer Welfare Standard for Contemporary U.S. Antitrust Enforcement | Truth on the Market
The Consumer Welfare Standard and Antitrust Enforcement: a Response | ProMarket
Why Consumer Welfare Remains the Standard for Antitrust | Wall Street Journal
Monopoly Fears About Big Tech Are Overblown | Discourse
Upcoming Events
Podcast with Joshua Wright and Douglas Melamed
Professors Joshua Wright and Douglas Melamed are among the leading scholars on antitrust today. In a podcast to be released later this week, I sit down with them to discuss enforcement trends in the past 40 years, the Executive Order on competition, merger guideline revisions, antitrust legislation, and more. Check out my twitter later this week for the link to the discussion.
Following my response to Fiona Scott-Morton in defense of the Consumer Welfare Standard, I will be on a panel moderated by Leah Nylen and with Professor Scott-Morton, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Doha Mekki, and Professor Zephyr Teachout, debating the merits of the CWS and how antitrust should evolve to meet the modern needs of the economy. 
Book Release – FTC Rulemaking | Concurrences
In a collection of essays to be released later this year, I argue that any FTC “unfair methods of competition” rule-makings are on extremely unsure footing as a legal matter and would not pass cost-benefit muster as a policy matter. I recently posted the abstract to my chapter in Truth on the Market and I look forward to discussing the whole chapter in June when the book is scheduled for release.
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