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Consumer Surplus as the Appropriate Standard for Antitrust Enforcement


  • Russ Pittman


In this paper, I argue that such transfers are likely overall to be quite regressive, and thus that a consumer surplus standard rather than a total welfare standard may be appropriate for antitrust. Two common arguments against this standard that most mergers are in markets for intermediate goods, and that a consumer welfare standard implies a tolerance for monopsony are examined and found wanting. I argue in addition that, even if a total welfare standard is used, both the finance literature on merger outcomes and the structure of the U.S. enforcement agencies suggest that the use of a consumer surplus standard by the agencies is more likely to achieve that goal.

Suggested Citation

  • Russ Pittman, 2007. "Consumer Surplus as the Appropriate Standard for Antitrust Enforcement," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 3.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpi:cpijrn:3.2.2007:i=4927

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lars-Hendrik Röller & Johan Stennek & Frank Verboven, 2006. "Efficiency Gains from Mergers," Chapters,in: European Merger Control, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Emilie Dargaud & Carlo Reggiani & Andrea Mantovani, 2013. "The fight against cartels: a transatlantic perspective," Post-Print halshs-00878871, HAL.
    2. Massimo Motta & Emanuele Tarantino, 2017. "The effect of horizontal mergers, when firms compete in prices and investments," Economics Working Papers 1579, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    3. Dennis W. Carlton & Ken Heyer, 2008. "Appropriate Antitrust Policy Towards Single-Firm Conduct," EAG Discussions Papers 200802, Department of Justice, Antitrust Division.
    4. Brennan, Timothy J., 2009. "Energy Efficiency: Efficiency or Monopsony?," Discussion Papers dp-09-20, Resources For the Future.
    5. Rosa-Branca Esteves & Helder Vasconcelos, 2015. "Price Discrimination under Customer Recognition and Mergers," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(3), pages 523-549, September.
    6. Jarig Sinderen & Ron Kemp, 2008. "The Economic Effect Of Competition Law Enforcement: The Case Of The Netherlands," De Economist, Springer, vol. 156(4), pages 365-385, December.
    7. Thomas Jeitschko & Nanyun Zhang, 2011. "Patent Pools and Product Development," Working Papers 2011-02, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2011.
    8. Yannis Katsoulacos & Eleni Metsiou & David Ulph, 2016. "Optimal Substantive Standards for Competition Authorities," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 273-295, September.
    9. Kevin Currier & Susanne Rassouli-Currier, 2016. "The impact of energy market mergers on “green†producers' cost efficiency incentives: some preliminary results," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(4), pages 2474-2481.
    10. Brennan, Timothy J., 2011. "Energy efficiency and renewables policies: Promoting efficiency or facilitating monopsony?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 3954-3965, July.
    11. Pingping Shan & Guofu Tan & Simon Wilkie & Michael Williams, 2012. "China’s Anti-Monopoly Law: What is the Welfare Standard?," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 41(1), pages 31-52, August.
    12. Marc Escrihuela-Villar, 2016. "On the price effects of collusion and the number of firms," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(3), pages 1694-1704.
    13. Marc Fusaro & Richard Ericson, 2010. "The Welfare Economics of “Bounce Protection” Programs," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 55-73, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General


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