How should consumers and competition be protected in the digital age?
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A new article by Allen & Overy attorneys Hugh Hollman and Nicholas Putz explores this question in the Journal of Antitrust Enforcement’s special issue on the state of antitrust in the U.S., featuring insights from top agency officials and experts.
The article was published alongside contributions from leading commentators including U.S. FTC Chair Lina Khan and Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division and examines:
- The consumer welfare standard: a key principle that guides U.S. antitrust law and policy, focusing on the effects of business practices on consumers, prices, and innovation.
- The proposed reforms: some of the ideas and arguments put forward by critics of the consumer welfare standard, who want to expand antitrust goals to include broad social, political, and moral values.
- The risks and benefits: the potential impact of changing the consumer welfare standard on the U.S. economy, legal system, and society, and the need for careful analysis and balanced debate.
The article argues that the consumer welfare standard is not as rigid or narrow as some reformers claim, and that it still offers a useful and flexible framework for addressing the challenges of the digital era. It also warns against the dangers of polarizing the antitrust discourse and ignoring the lessons learned from decades of experience and evidence.
The Consumer Welfare Standard and Avoiding the Dangers of Polarized Debate in the USA was published in the July issue of Oxford University Press’s Journal of Antitrust Enforcement and can be read in full here.