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Antitrust and the Not-For-Profit Sector

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  • Tomas J. Philipson
  • Richard A. Posner

Abstract

Although the not-for-profit sector contributes greatly to aggregate output in many industries, there is little explicit analysis of the consequences of applying antitrust policy in this sector. This paper argues that the same incentives to collude exist in the non-profit sector as in the for-profit sector and that therefore, since competition is socially valuable regardless of the particular objectives of producers, the fact that antitrust law does not distinguish between the two sectors is efficient. The similarity in incentives derives from the fact that altruistic firms benefit from exploiting market power even when they would price below cost without regard to competition. Although the legal regulations governing the nonprofit sector limit the degree to which profits can be distributed, and therefore seek to reduce rents in a similar manner to antitrust laws, this nondistribution constraint does not obviate the need for antitrust in that sector. The argument for uniform antitrust doctrine in the two sectors extends to the exemptions from antitrust as well. In particular, patents (lawful monopolies intended to create incentives for innovation) stimulate innovation in the nonprofit sector only when they enable market power to be exploited, just as in the for-profit sector, and so the patent exemption from antitrust should be as broad in the nonprofit sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 2001. "Antitrust and the Not-For-Profit Sector," NBER Working Papers 8126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8126
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    Cited by:

    1. Nikolaus Fink, 2011. "SSNIP, state-owned enterprises, public goods and complements," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 381-388, July.
    2. Annika Frohloff, 2007. "Cost and Technical Efficiency of German Hospitals – A Stochastic Frontier Analysis," Ruhr Economic Papers 0002, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    3. Jens Prüfer, 2011. "Competition And Mergers Among Nonprofits," Journal of Competition Law and Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 69-92.
    4. Scharf, Kimberley, 2014. "Impure prosocial motivation in charity provision: Warm-glow charities and implications for public funding," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 50-57.
    5. Katalin Katona & Marcel Canoy, 2013. "Welfare standards in hospital mergers," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 14(4), pages 573-586, August.
    6. 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.
    7. Johan Willner, 2010. "Public Options and Altruistic Firms - Antitrust Targets or Tools? The Welfare Impact of a Mixed Oligopoly With Managerial firms," Discussion Papers 59, Aboa Centre for Economics.
    8. Hsu, Su-Ying & Lo, Chu-Ping & Wu, Shih-Jye, 2014. "The nexus of market concentration and privatization policy in mixed oligopoly," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 196-203.
    9. Scharf, Kimberley & Tukiainen, Janne, 2015. "Does Market Size Matter Also for Charities?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 226, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    10. FRANCISCO MARCOS & Juan Santaló, 2007. "Tomb price discrimination in cemeteries: competition in the market for corpses?," Working Papers Economia wp07-09, Instituto de Empresa, Area of Economic Environment.
    11. Scharf, Kimberley, 2011. "Scale Scale Economies in Nonprofit Provision, Technology Adoption and Entry," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 45, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    12. Carlo Perroni & Ganna Pogrebna & Sarah Sandford & Kimberley Ann Scharf, 2014. "Are Donors Afraid of Charities' Core Costs? Scale Economies in Non-profit Provision and Charity Selection," CESifo Working Paper Series 5024, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. Annika Herr, 2008. "Cost and technical efficiency of German hospitals: does ownership matter?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(9), pages 1057-1071.
    14. Perroni, Carlo & Pogrebna, Ganna & Sandford, Sarah & Scharf, Kimberley, 2014. "Are Donors Afraid of Charities' Core Costs? Scale Economies in Non-profit Provision," CEPR Discussion Papers 10179, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. repec:zbw:rwirep:0002 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. 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.
    17. Marco A. MARINI & Paolo POLIDORI & Desiree TEOBALDELLI & Alberto ZEVI, 2015. "Welfare Enhancing Coordination In Consumer Cooperatives Under Mixed Oligopoly," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(3), pages 505-527, September.
    18. Lakdawalla, Darius & Philipson, Tomas, 2006. "The nonprofit sector and industry performance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1681-1698, September.
    19. Joseph Farrell & Paul Pautler & Michael Vita, 2009. "Economics at the FTC: Retrospective Merger Analysis with a Focus on Hospitals," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 35(4), pages 369-385, December.
    20. Frohloff, Annika, 2007. "Cost and Technical Efficiency of German Hospitals – A Stochastic Frontier Analysis," Ruhr Economic Papers 2, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    21. Jill R. Horwitz & Austin Nichols, 2007. "What Do Nonprofits Maximize? Nonprofit Hospital Service Provision and Market Ownership Mix," NBER Working Papers 13246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Johan Willner, 2013. "The welfare impact of a managerial oligopoly with an altruistic firm," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 109(2), pages 97-115, June.
    23. David Sappington & J. Sidak, 2003. "Incentives for Anticompetitive Behavior by Public Enterprises," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 22(3), pages 183-206, May.
    24. Rudy Santore & Youping Li & Stephen Cotten, 2015. "Colluding with a conscience," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 255-269, April.

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    • K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law

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