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Old Lady Charm: Explaining the Persistent Appeal of Chicago Antitrust

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  • Nicola Giocoli

Abstract

The paper deals with the mysterious persistence of the Chicago approach as the main analytical engine driving antitrust enforcement in the US. While the approach has been almost completely replaced in contemporary industrial economics by the so-called Post-Chicago view, with its superior game-theoretic toolbox, Chicago arguments still permeate antitrust case law at all judicial level, including the Supreme Court’s. Chicago rise to dominance in US courtrooms has allegedly been due to the superiority of its economic analysis. It is thus legitimate to ask why the analytical edge of the Post-Chicago approach has failed to produce the same outcome. Answering this kind of questions is crucial to understand how economists persuade, i.e., how economic arguments may be accepted and applied by policy- or law-makers. The paper offers a series of explanations, most of which inspired by the chapters in Robert Pitofsky’s collection How the Chicago School Overshot the Mark (OUP 2008). It is argued that none of these answers is completely exhaustive, though each may account for a bit of the story.

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Paper provided by Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) in its series INET Research Notes with number 4.

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Date of creation: 30 May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:thk:rnotes:4

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  1. Nicola Giocoli, 2011. "When low is no good: Predatory pricing and U.S. antitrust law (1950--1980)," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(5), pages 777-806, December.
  2. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
  3. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1997. "Predation, reputation , and entry deterrence," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1460, David K. Levine.
  4. Giocoli, Nicola, 2008. "Competition vs. property rights: American antitrust law, the Freiburg School and the early years of European competition policy," MPRA Paper 33807, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Peltzman, Sam, 1991. "The Handbook of Industrial Organization: Review Article," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 201-17, February.
  6. Ariel Rubinstein, 2006. "Dilemmas of an Economic Theorist," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 74(4), pages 865-883, 07.
  7. Kreps, David M. & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Reputation and imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 253-279, August.
  8. N. G. Mankiw., 2009. "The Macroeconomist as Scientist and Engineer," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
  9. Franklin M. Fisher, 1989. "Games Economists Play: A Noncooperative View," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(1), pages 113-124, Spring.
  10. Giocoli, Nicola, 2010. "Games judges don't play: predatory pricing and strategic reasoning in US antitrust," MPRA Paper 33810, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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Cited by:
  1. Signorino, Rodolfo, 2012. "Old lady charm: a comment," MPRA Paper 39211, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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