The influence of American economists on the Clayton and Federal Trade Commission Acts
The aim of this paper is to analyze American economists’ influence in the passing of the Clayton and Federal Trade Commission Acts (1914). Specifically, it is argued and documented that American economists were important in this process in two ways. Many economists exercised an “indirect” influence by discussing in academic journals and books problems concerning trusts, combinations, and the necessary measures to preserve the working of competitive markets. At least as importantly, if not more so, some economists took an active role in the reform movement both contributing to draft proposals for the amendment of existing antitrust legislation and providing help and advice during the Congressional debates which led to the passing of the FTC and Clayton Acts. Among these, we will focus primarily, albeit not exclusively, on the contribution of John Bates Clark.
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