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Antitrust and Higher Education: Was There a Conspiracy to Restrict Financial Aid?

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  • Dennis W. Carlton
  • Gustavo E. Bamberger
  • Roy J. Epstein

Abstract

In 1991, the Antitrust Division sued MIT and the eight schools in the Ivy League under Section 1 of the Sherman Act for engaging in a conspiracy to fix the prices that students pay. The Antitrust Division claimed that the schools conspired on financial aid policies in an effort to reduce aid and raise their revenues. The schools justified their cooperative behavior by explaining that it enabled them to concentrate aid on only those in need and thereby helped the schools to achieve their goals of need-blind admission coupled with financial aid to all needy admittees. This paper analyzes the empirical determinants of tuition and finds that the schools' agreement had no effect on average tuition paid. The paper also analyzes the appropriate application of the antitrust laws to not-for-profit institutions. The Court of Appeals found that it is appropriate for the courts to consider non-profit institutions' justifications for collective action (in this case, to enable the poor to attend school) under a Rule of Reason. The Court of Appeals overturned the District Court's opinion against MIT, citing the failure of the District Court to properly apply the Rule of Reason.

Suggested Citation

  • Dennis W. Carlton & Gustavo E. Bamberger & Roy J. Epstein, 1995. "Antitrust and Higher Education: Was There a Conspiracy to Restrict Financial Aid?," NBER Working Papers 4998, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4998
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Rothschild & Lawrence J. White, 1993. "The University in the Marketplace: Some Insights and Some Puzzles," NBER Chapters,in: Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education, pages 11-42 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Tjalling C. Koopmans & Martin J. Beckmann, 1955. "Assignment Problems and the Location of Economic Activities," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 4, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    3. Hausman, Jerry, 2015. "Specification tests in econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 38(2), pages 112-134.
    4. Dennis W. Carlton & Gustavo E. Bamberger & Roy J. Epstein, 1994. "Antitrust and Higher Education," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 107, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    5. Roth, Alvin E. & Sotomayor, Marilda, 1992. "Two-sided matching," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications,in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 485-541 Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexis Walckiers, 2008. "Multi-dimensional contracts with task-specific productivity: an application to universities," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(2), pages 165-198, April.
    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. Holger Sieg & Dennis Epple & Richard Romano, 2003. "Peer effects, financial aid and selection of students into colleges and universities: an empirical analysis," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 501-525.
    4. Searing Elizabeth A. M., 2014. "Charitable (Anti)Trust: The Role of Antitrust Regulation in the Nonprofit Sector," Nonprofit Policy Forum, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-28, October.
    5. DANIEL P. McMILLEN & LARRY D. SINGELL & GLEN R. WADDELL, 2007. "Spatial Competition And The Price Of College," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(4), pages 817-833, October.
    6. Gordon C. Winston, 1999. "Subsidies, Hierarchy and Peers: The Awkward Economics of Higher Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 13-36, Winter.
    7. Hashem Dezhbakhsh & John A. Karikari, 2010. "Enrollment At Highly Selective Private Colleges: Who Is Left Behind?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(1), pages 94-109, January.
    8. Cory Capps & Dennis W. Carlton & Guy David, 2017. "Antitrust Treatment of Nonprofits: Should Hospitals Receive Special Care?," NBER Working Papers 23131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Becker, William E. & Round, David K., 2009. "'The' Market for Higher Education: Does It Really Exist?," IZA Discussion Papers 4092, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Heather Antecol & Janet Kiholm Smith, 2012. "The Early Decision Option in College Admission and Its Impact on Student Diversity," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(1), pages 217-249.

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