John Kwoka, the Neal F. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Economics whose research focuses on U.S. merger policy, will step away from teaching for one academic year to take a senior advisory role at the Federal Trade Commission. Kwoka, whose most recent book—Controlling Mergers and Market Power: A Program for Reviving Antitrust in America—makes nearly 50 recommendations for revising merger policy, will serve as chief economist to FTC chair Lina Khan. Among her objectives is to take a hard look at mergers and see how policies should be strengthened, Kwoka says.
“My role is to advise [her] on matters that she wants economic input and advice on,” Kwoka says. “Lina has come to the FTC with a big agenda and a great deal of energy, and she invited me to sign up to participate in the mission.”
The agency investigates anti-competitive mergers and business practices that could harm consumers in the form of higher prices or lower quality. Its docket includes a lawsuit blocking a $40 billion computer chip industry acquisition. The commission alleges that the combined company would have the means and incentive to stifle technologies, including those used to run datacenters and driver-assistance systems in cars.