Recommended Antitrust Reading for the Next Administration

Josh Wright —  21 July 2008

The August issue of the Antitrust Source will feature several short contributions from lawyers, judges, professors, and economists in the antitrust community suggesting some recommended reading (a book, scholarly article, or judicial opinion) for the transition team members of the new administration.  A preview of my submission appears below the fold:

Frank Easterbrook’s, The Limits of Antitrust, 65 TEX. L. REV. 1 (1984), is required reading because it is simple, powerful, and often misunderstood. Easterbrook began with two insights: (1) the social costs of false convictions are greater than false acquittals because the latter are self-correcting, and (2) the antitrust authorities’ assignment is remarkably difficult: identify an “optimal mix” of competitive activities when precious little is known about welfare tradeoffs between competition’s various forms. Easterbrook concluded that the antitrust rules likely to benefit consumers by minimizing the social costs of errors and administration should be biased towards false negatives. Easterbrook’s error-cost framework is an innovation that can and should be used to assist policymakers of any political stripe in harnessing antitrust resources to earn the greatest rate of return for consumers.

What would be on your mandatory reading list for the next administration?