Research Highlights

Antitrust Policy for the 2020s: Some Sensible Ways Forward

Lawrence White

In “Antitrust Policy for the 2020s: Some Sensible Ways Forward,” NYU Stern Professor Lawrence White describes modest changes in antitrust policy that could help keep the U.S. economy competitive, vibrant, and innovative.

In “Antitrust Policy for the 2020s: Some Sensible Ways Forward,” NYU Stern Professor Lawrence White describes modest changes in antitrust policy that could help keep the U.S. economy competitive, vibrant, and innovative.

Overview: In “Antitrust Policy for the 2020s: Some Sensible Ways Forward,” NYU Stern Professor Lawrence White describes modest changes in antitrust policy that could help keep the U.S. economy competitive, vibrant, and innovative.

Why study this now: The news media has focused much attention on antitrust lawsuits against large companies and the proposed sweeping changes in antitrust policy. In place of major policy overhauls as has been suggested, Professor White offers smaller, more practical solutions to benefit competition.

What the researcher found: According to Professor White, a few policy changes to antitrust law that could have significant impact on competition in the US economy include:
  • Expanding the resources that are available for antitrust enforcement.
  • Toughening merger enforcement.
  • Allowing indirect purchasers (e.g. customers who have bought products from a distributor such as Best Buy) who suffered from price-fixing to sue monopolizing producers via class action lawsuits. At the moment, only distributors can usually pursue such suits.
  • Expanding the courts' understanding and recognition of predatory practices.
  • Paring back antitrust exemptions.
Key insight: Sweeping changes in antitrust policy “would likely yield pitfalls as well,” according to Professor White. “There are sensible antitrust changes that could enhance the competitiveness and innovativeness of the US economy.”

What does this change: Strengthening US economic competitiveness via antitrust law does not necessarily need to include major overhauls of policies. Instead, modest changes like those suggested by Professor White could have a significant impact. “Some require legislation; some call for a change of approach for the enforcement agencies; some need conceptual/intellectual developments,” says Professor White.

This research is published in Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy.