Measuring the antitrust revolution

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Though antitrust always evolved with the economics of its time, economic analysis was not central to the antitrust enterprise until Continental T.V. Inc. v. GTE Sylvania. In doing so, the Court abandoned the multiple goals of the prior era to embrace a singular economic goal. With a singular goal, antitrust had become revolutionary. How to measure the antitrust revolution has been difficult. In this article, we focus on published caselaw, which provides a broad set of observations that includes government enforcement actions and private antitrust suits. We use the Caselaw Access Project (“CAP”) database and its associated “Historical Trends” tool to track the usage of certain words and phrases in judicial opinions. This article is the first to measure antitrust terms in court cases that combines big data with data visualization techniques to better understand, based on usage of common antitrust terms, the impact economics has had on decided cases.