Old lady charm: explaining the persistent appeal of Chicago antitrust
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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