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Recent Trends And Economic Consequences Of Antitrust Theory and Enforcement

Godfrey E. Briefs
Business Economics
Vol. 15, No. 2 (March 1980), pp. 1-5
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23482410
Page Count: 5
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Recent Trends And Economic Consequences Of Antitrust Theory and Enforcement
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Abstract

"Unlike government regulation of business, the economic burden of antitrust enforcement in this country has received only limited attention. It can be broken down into three major elements: (1) the direct cost of litigation, (2) the economic disincentives created by actual or threatened enforcement, (3) the opportunity costs of second-best business strategies promoted by antitrust enforcement. The basic reason for these economically preverse results is the ambivalence of antitrust policy which on the one hand seeks to encourage competition, while on the other hand supressing it by a tendency to penalize those who succeed best in the competitive struggle. The root of this ambivalence in policy is the "market concentration doctrine" which, however, is falling into disrepute. Nevertheless, antitrust enthusiasts push on with proposals such as "no-fault" divestiture of large businesses on the grounds of "market dominance" per se and efforts to proscribe conglomerate mergers involving businesses above a certain size. The pattern of these and other antitrust bills considered by Senator Kennedy's Judiciary Committee gives food for thought for business forecasters and planners."

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