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Is Antitrust Too Complicated for Generalist Judges? The Impact of Economic Complexity and Judicial Training on Appeals

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  • Michael R. Baye
  • Joshua D. Wright

Abstract

The recent increase in the demand for expert economic analysis in antitrust litigation has improved the welfare of economists; however, the law and economics literature is silent on the effects of economic complexity or judges' economic training on judicial decision making. We use a unique data set on antitrust litigation in federal district and administrative courts during 1996-2006 to examine whether economic complexity impacts antitrust decisions and provide a novel test of the hypothesis that antitrust analysis has become too complex for generalist judges. We also examine the impact of basic economic training on judges. We find that decisions involving the evaluation of complex economic evidence are significantly more likely to be appealed, and decisions of judges trained in basic economics are significantly less likely to be appealed than are decisions by their untrained counterparts. Our analysis supports the hypothesis that some antitrust cases are too complicated for generalist judges.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael R. Baye & Joshua D. Wright, 2011. "Is Antitrust Too Complicated for Generalist Judges? The Impact of Economic Complexity and Judicial Training on Appeals," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 1-24.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/652305
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard A. Posner, 1999. "The Law and Economics of the Economic Expert Witness," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 91-99, Spring.
    2. Robert W. Crandall & Clifford Winston, 2005. "Does antitrust policy improve consumer welfare? Assessing the evidence," Chapters,in: Governments, Competition and Utility Regulation, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Jonathan B. Baker, 2003. "The Case for Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 27-50, Fall.
    4. Nancy T. Gallini, 2002. "The Economics of Patents: Lessons from Recent U.S. Patent Reform," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 131-154, Spring.
    5. Tomaso Duso & Damien J. Neven & Lars-Hendrik Röller, 2007. "The Political Economy of European Merger Control: Evidence using Stock Market Data," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 455-489.
    6. Ashenfelter, Orley & Eisenberg, Theodore & Schwab, Stewart J, 1995. "Politics and the Judiciary: The Influence of Judicial Background on Case Outcomes," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 257-281, June.
    7. George L. Priest & Benjamin Klein, 1984. "The Selection of Disputes for Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 1-56, January.
    8. Michael J. Mandel, 1999. "Going for the Gold: Economists as Expert Witnesses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 113-120, Spring.
    9. Block, Michael Kent & Nold, Frederick Carl, 1981. "The Deterrent Effect of Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 429-445, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Florian Smuda & Patrice Bougette & Kai Hüschelrath, 2015. "Determinants of the Duration of European Appellate Court Proceedings in Cartel Cases," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(6), pages 1352-1369, November.
    2. Marselli, Riccardo & McCannon, Bryan C. & Vannini, Marco, 2015. "Bargaining in the shadow of arbitration," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 356-368.
    3. Bougette, Patrice & Budzinski, Oliver & Marty, Frédéric, 2017. "Exploitative abuse and abuse of economic dependence: What can we learn from the industrial organization approach?," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 111, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.
    4. Alexander Whalley, 2013. "Elected versus Appointed Policy Makers: Evidence from City Treasurers," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(1), pages 39-81.
    5. Andrew Myburgh & Jordi Paniagua, 2016. "Does International Commercial Arbitration Promote Foreign Direct Investment?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 597-627.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A2 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics
    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
    • L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies

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