General Editor’s Note: Antitrust and Regulatory Update
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This issue marks the seventeenth year of a special feature of the Review of Industrial Organization: “Antitrust and Regulatory Update”. As was true for last year, I asked the Chief Economists of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the DG Competition of the European Union (DGComp), and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of the UK to write essays about the interesting aspects of the important antitrust and regulatory issues that confronted their agencies during this past year. I am pleased to report that all five individuals responded affirmatively.
The essays in this issue of the Review—all of them co-authored with career economists at their respective agencies—are thus the products of all five of their affirmative responses.
As has been reflected in previous years’ essays from the competition agencies, mergers and merger policy continue to be important, and four of the five essays touch on merger analysis issues and/or discuss the analysis of specific mergers that came before their respective agencies. Especially noteworthy are: the FTC’s analysis of non-price dimensions of competition in a proposed merger of two platforms for internet daily fantasy sports contests; the CMA’s analysis of the merger of two online ordering platforms that required an assessment of competition in the presence of indirect network effects, as a well as a food industry vertical merger; the DOJ’s description of online modeling tools for merger analyses; and DGComp’s discussion of counterfactual analysis in merger assessments.
Four of the five essays also address non-merger antitrust and regulatory issues: DGComp discusses the Google Search (Shopping) case; the FTC provides a model to quantify harm to consumers from deceptive advertising in automobile markets; CMA discusses its remedies that are aimed at opening retail banking to more competition; and the FCC describes the analysis that underlay the agency’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order.
This brief summary cannot, of course, do adequate justice to the interesting analyses and discussions that are to be found in all five essays in this issue; but I hope that I have sufficiently stimulated the curiosity and interest of readers so as to encourage them to read the complete essays. As has been true in past years, RIO readers will find that reading these essays at greater length will be well worth their time.