By Richard A. Epstein

For over 100 years, the antitrust consent decree has been a big weapon within the federal enforcement of antitrust legislation. In Antitrust Consent Decrees in concept and Practice, Richard A. Epstein undertakes the 1st systematic examine in their use and effectiveness from either a historic and analytical perspective.

Epstein observes how adjustments in antitrust philosophy can form the types of finished settlements that the govt. will search and the courts will provide. Epstein takes factor with competitive antitrust enforcement concepts that search to exploit govt energy to essentially modify buildings or the company practices of regulated businesses, in a few cases resulting in their breakup. to provide an explanation for the perils of that process, Epstein conscientiously examines the historical past of consent decree litigation, culminating in exact reviews of the AT&T breakup and the govt antitrust activities opposed to Microsoft.

Applying sleek theories of antitrust research, Epstein's principal thesis is that daring antitrust treatments that aren't tightly tied to a defensible conception of wrongful behavior frequently turn out counterproductive. Such measures ordinarily strength companies to undertake company practices and structural reorganizations that considerably hamper their skill to compete successfully on the market. The disparate fates of AT&T and Microsoft are the results of an enormous and fruitful shift in considering the use and boundaries at the antitrust legislation in a large choice of business contexts.

Antitrust Consent Decrees in concept and Practice could be of curiosity to any reader who's interested in the bigger implications of the govt. legislation of legislation and company. Epstein brings approximately 40 years of private wisdom and adventure to this subject. Written in a transparent and nontechnical variety, this e-book may still end up a useful source to any scholar of law and fiscal coverage, in addition to attorneys and policymakers all for antitrust litigation.

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Extra info for Antitrust Consent Decrees in Theory and Practice: Why Less Is More

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1 The slow and ponderous pace of antitrust litigation is such that the passage of time and the transformation of technology render consent decrees either inconsequential or counterproductive. , which dealt with the regulation and breakup of the great meatpacking companies; the United Shoe Machinery case, in which the United States pursued United Shoe Machinery for over fifty years before it achieved the breakup of an efficient competitor in an ever more global world market; the ASCAP/BMI saga, where the United States was never able to create efficient parity between the two rival organizations that were formed to secure the effective distribution of music to the broadcast industry; and the breakup of the old AT&T network under Judge Harold Greene’s famous consent decree.

Here there is at least some specter of vertical integration (though no clear explanation as to why individual entry by firms without dominant market position should count as a restrictive practice, given the 26 ANTITRUST CONSENT DECREES IN THEORY AND PRACTICE cost savings that such integration can achieve). But the trial court did relax the restrictions contained in requests (3) and (4), which prevented the expansion of Swift and Armour into unrelated businesses where they had no market power at all.

Under the pre-1932 scheme, a station was not disadvantaged if it decided to use ASCAP’s libraries for part of its programming, while going elsewhere for the rest. Fewer hours of ASCAP music meant lower fees paid. But once the ASCAP fees were tied to annual station revenue, the station received no price break by broadcasting music from other sources. The new pricing arrangement did not enhance ASCAP’s ability to discharge its clearinghouse functions—only its ability to exclude rivals from gaining market share, even when they could offer a substitute product of equal quality at a lower price.

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