“John Kwoka’s latest contribution to the debate over merger enforcement in the U.S. is a powerful call for action. His prescription for revitalizing merger enforcement is thoughtful, practical, and achievable.” — Bill Baer, Former Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, US Department of Justice
From John Kwoka:
CPI has just released my new book on merger policy, entitled Controlling Mergers and Market Power: A Program for Reviving Antitrust in America. I have written this book to address the pressing question of exactly how to reform and revitalize antitrust policy, and merger control in particular, in the U.S. It sets out a comprehensive economics-based program to remedy the weaknesses of current policy, documenting those problems, explaining their origins, and providing detailed recommendations for reviving merger control.
Controlling Mergers and Market Power shows how policy has failed to enforce its own guidelines against large mergers, failed to aggressively challenge mergers that eliminate new competitors or raise barriers to entry, allowed virtually unchecked hundreds of acquisitions by the tech companies, too often resorted to remedies of dubious effectiveness, and too readily accepted arguments that mergers bring efficiencies. The result has been an economy that is dramatically more concentrated, more dominated by major tech companies, and less dynamic and competitive than in the recent past.
The core of the book is a detailed exposition of what needs to be done to revive merger control policy. Drawing on modern economics throughout, it analyzes twelve substantive areas of merger control policy and enforcement that urgently need reform, in each case providing recommendations for precisely what needs to be done. These include recommendations for renewed reliance on the structural presumption, a tougher standard for what constitutes an anticompetitive merger, greater attention to mergers that create entry barriers, and reduced use of supposed remedies to anticompetitive mergers. There is a total of 44 specific recommendations in all, providing a comprehensive roadmap for rebuilding the necessary policies, institutions, and practices for a vigorous merger control policy.
I hope the analysis in this book will be of interest to all students, scholars, and practitioners of antitrust policy. And more than that, I hope it will be a call to action for reviving a merger control policy that works to the benefit of competition, consumers, workers, and companies themselves.