Antitrust Policy and Interest-Group Politics

By William F. Shughart II | Go to book overview

8
Using Antitrust to Subvert Competition

There is a specter that haunts our antitrust institutions. Its threat is that, far from serving as the bulwark of competition, these institutions will become the most powerful instrument in the hands of those who wish to subvert it. More than that, it threatens to draw great quantities of resources into the struggle to prevent effective competition, thereby more than offsetting the contributions to economic efficiency promised by antitrust activities. This is a specter that may well dwarf any other concern about the antitrust processes. We ignore it at our peril and would do well to take steps to exorcise it. 1

The case for characterizing antitrust as a mechanism for wealth redistribution, or what Robert Bork calls predation through governmental processes, 2 derives from three distinct, but related, contributions to the literature on public policies toward business. One component of this literature consists of studies attempting--and failing--to find evidence in support of the hypothesis that antitrust cases are selected on the basis of their potential net benefit to society. 3 The second is comprised of research showing political influences on the enforcement process. 4 And the third element is represented by the normative literature on antitrust, which is highly critical of enforcement efforts in a large number of specific cases.

More fundamentally, however, the emerging appreciation of the incentives of firms to use the apparatus of antitrust policy for the purpose of subverting competition is grounded in the theories of economic regulation and rent seeking. The first of these theoretical contributions explains the level and pattern of traditional economic regulation of price and entry, as well as newer forms of "social" regulation (health, safety, and environmental policies, for example), in interest-group terms. 5 That is, certain groups, whose stake in regulation is sufficiently concentrated and whose costs of mobilizing political influence are sufficiently low, have an incentive to lobby for regulatory favors that increase their own wealth at the expense of other groups whose interests are more diffuse and that face relatively high costs of mobilizing to oppose regulation. The regulators, in turn, serve as brokers of these wealth transfers, clearing the market for

-157-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Antitrust Policy and Interest-Group Politics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 214

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.