The Life of Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Model

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“Consumer welfare” as an objective of antitrust law and regulation has its origins in several vague and even conflicting ideas of how to evaluate the impact of market consolidation. However, many of these ideas identify consumer welfare with higher market output and lower prices. Herbert Hovenkamp and Fiona Scott Morton argue that this definition of consumer welfare provides courts and antitrust regulators with a metric to judge the potential harmful effects of mergers and acquisitions that is superior to other antitrust goals, including protecting the “competitive process” and limiting firm “bigness.” The Stigler Center’s 2023 Antitrust and Competition conference seeks to answer the question: what lays beyond the consumer welfare standard? In advance of the discussions, ProMarket is publishing a series of papers on the infamous consumer welfare standard. This piece is part of that debate


Consumer welfare, antitrust, trade regulation

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