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Academic Articles Awards > Economics

Economics in Antitrust Enforcement and the Private Benefit of Scholarly Commentators

Jan Broulík, TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2017-001, January 2017

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Readers’ vote will close on February 9, 2018. Readers’ vote will allow you to nominate 1 article for each of the Awards, i.e., 10 Academic articles, 10 Business articles, and the best Soft Laws. The readers’ short-list of Academic and Business Articles will be communicated to the Board together with the 20 articles nominated by the Steering Committees. The Board will decide on the award-winning articles. Results will be announced at the Awards ceremony to take place in Washington DC on the eve of the ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting on April 10, 2018.

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Academic commentators maintain advocating more economics in antitrust enforcement than it would be optimal from the societal point of view. It has been proposed that this advocacy arises from the private benefit that the commentators obtain from the enforcement use of economics. This article examines the plausibility of this proposition. It compiles the available data on the size of business and employment opportunities for antitrust practitioners to show that there is a significant private benefit associated with the enforcement use of economics. Because the boundary between antitrust practice and academia is permeable, this private benefit is capable of distorting the scholarly commentary. Literature on an analogous issue advances that such distortions of the academic discourse arising from practice-related benefits enjoyed by academic commentators are not rare. Additional incentives come from big businesses that benefit from the excessive use of economics and, therefore, reward commentary that advocates it. The proposition therefore appears to be reasonably plausible.

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