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How the Chicago School Overshot the MarkThe Effect of Conservative Economic Analysis on U.S. Antitrust$
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Robert Pitofsky

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372823

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372823.001.0001

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Introduction: Setting the Stage

Introduction: Setting the Stage

Chapter:
(p.3) Introduction: Setting the Stage
Source:
How the Chicago School Overshot the Mark
Author(s):

Robert Pitofsky

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372823.003.0001

This chapter presents four papers from some of the most eminent people in the antitrust field. It analyzes “barriers to entry” from a practical rather than theoretical point of view, and concludes that conservatives seem to be generous in allowing entrenched dominant firms to rely on a variety of coercion and intimidation tactics. It notes a wide-spread sense of “something gone wrong” with today's antitrust enforcement, in particular a growing sense of too much emphasis on over-simplified economic models. The chapter then provides a full and fair historic review of Warren Court excesses, and the Chicago School's remarkable influence in reversing some trends that most would ridicule today. It gives examples of areas where the Chicago School has not prevailed because of unrealistic economic approaches. It then emphasizes the complexity of evaluating the successes and failures of the Chicago School, noting examples of each kind of outcome. Finally, the chapter notes that many changes over the last half century, for better or worse, are the result of a variety of influences—not just fashions of economic analysis. It concludes that there are significant areas where extreme applications of conservative economic thought have “overshot the mark” and expresses concern that any such academic influences may lead to under-enforcement.

Keywords:   antitrust, antitrust law, antitrust policy, Chicago School, efficiency, economic welfare, consumer welfare, deconcentration, productive efficiency, post-Chicago

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