The Archives

Everything written by Julian Morris on law, economics, and more

The Effect of VAT Withholding Requirements in Latin America

Innovations in payment systems are rapidly transforming the world economy. While Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other decentralized blockchain-based systems tend to garner much of the press (good and bad), centralized peer-to-peer (P2P) payment systems are far more common. (Note that I use the term P2P here in its original sense to mean all peer-to-peer transactions, which ... The Effect of VAT Withholding Requirements in Latin America

The FT Misunderstands the Economics of Credit-Card Markets

In a recent piece for the Financial Times, Brendan Greeley argues that the misnamed Credit Card Competition Act would reduce inflation. In it, Greeley recycles numerous myths about the nature of credit-card markets that have long been rebutted by serious economic research. Both theory and ample evidence from the United States and other countries shows ... The FT Misunderstands the Economics of Credit-Card Markets

The Paradoxical Perils of Mandatory ‘Competition’ in Merchant Routing of Credit-Card Transactions

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) earlier this month introduced legislation that aims to manufacture competition in the routing of credit-card transactions. If enacted, the measure would require that merchants be able to choose from at least two networks when processing most credit-card transactions. While this would result in competition over routing, it would harm other forms ... The Paradoxical Perils of Mandatory ‘Competition’ in Merchant Routing of Credit-Card Transactions

Is Pix Really the End of Credit Cards?

In late August, Roberto Campos Neto, the head of Brazil’s central bank, is reported to have said about Pix, the bank’s two-year-old real-time-payments (RTP) system, that it “eliminates the need to have a credit card. I think that credit cards will cease to exist at some point soon.” Wow! Sounds amazing. A new system that ... Is Pix Really the End of Credit Cards?

Pixtopia Is Not Real 

Banco Central do Brasil (BCB), Brazil’s central bank, launched a new real-time payment (RTP) system in November 2020 called Pix. Evangelists at the central bank hoped that Pix would offer a low-cost alternative to existing payments systems and would entice some of the country’s tens of millions of unbanked and underbanked adults into the banking ... Pixtopia Is Not Real 

Rebuilding Trust in Coronaworld

Governments are beginning to lift the lockdowns they imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19. That is a good thing. But simply lifting the restrictions won’t immediately take us back to normality. For that to happen requires a massive investment in mechanisms that will rebuild trust. Prior to COVID-19, people implicitly trusted that travelling on ... Rebuilding Trust in Coronaworld

How to Slow the Spread SARS-CoV2 and Reduce Mortality from COVID-19 Without Destroying the Economy

[TOTM: The following is part of a blog series by TOTM guests and authors on the law, economics, and policy of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The entire series of posts is available here. This post is authored by Julian Morris, (Director of Innovation Policy, ICLE).] SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is now widespread in the population in ... How to Slow the Spread SARS-CoV2 and Reduce Mortality from COVID-19 Without Destroying the Economy

The Politicization of Antitrust Blog Symposium

The operative text of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 is a scant 100 words: Section 1: Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any contract ... The Politicization of Antitrust Blog Symposium

A Regulatory Failure of Imagination

Underpinning many policy disputes is a frequently rehearsed conflict of visions: Should we experiment with policies that are likely to lead to superior, but unknown, solutions, or should we should stick to well-worn policies, regardless of how poorly they fit current circumstances?  This conflict is clearly visible in the debate over whether DOJ should continue ... A Regulatory Failure of Imagination

Who’s the Real Destroyer of Retail

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin recently claimed that Amazon has “destroyed the retail industry across the United States” and should be investigated for antitrust violations. The claim doesn’t pass the laugh test. What’s more, the allegation might more rightly be levelled at Mnuchin himself.  Mnuchin. Is. Wrong. First, while Amazon’s share of online retail in the ... Who’s the Real Destroyer of Retail

The European Commission’s Google Android decision takes a mistaken, ahistorical view of the smartphone market

What to make of Wednesday’s decision by the European Commission alleging that Google has engaged in anticompetitive behavior? In this post, I contrast the European Commission’s (EC) approach to competition policy with US antitrust, briefly explore the history of smartphones and then discuss the ruling. Asked about the EC’s decision the day it was announced, ... The European Commission’s Google Android decision takes a mistaken, ahistorical view of the smartphone market