The Archives

Everything written by Keith Sharfman on law, economics, and more

Big State Primaries and General Electability

In yesterday’s Super Tuesday primaries, Hillary Clinton won the two largest contests–California and New York–but the delegate count was close to even (perhaps Clinton even finished slightly behind) because Barack Obama won more states, albeit smaller ones. The Clinton campaign argues that Clinton’s victories in larger, delegate-rich states suggest that she would be a more ... Big State Primaries and General Electability

Starbucks, Subway, and Antitrust

A few days ago, I posted a comment about Starbucks’ recent disclosure that its average per store traffic has gone down slightly even though overall profits have gone up. I suggested a number of explanations for these phenomena consistent with a story that consumer taste for the Starbucks product has not diminished. One of these ... Starbucks, Subway, and Antitrust

Starbucks Store Traffic and Nonexclusivity

Traffic at Starbucks shops open for 13 months or more is down one percent. Does this mean that the public is finally losing its appetite for Starbucks? Not necessarily. While traffic is down, profits are up. Thus a more likely explanation for the new data is the firm’s price increase last summer rather than a ... Starbucks Store Traffic and Nonexclusivity


Yet another major airline merger appears to be in the works: United and Delta. This calls for some antitrust analysis. A few months ago, Thom did a thorough job analyzing the antitrust aspects of AirTran’s proposed takeover of Midwest. The key point in Thom’s analysis was that assessment of an airline merger’s economic effects properly ... United/Delta

My Take on Credit Suisse . . .

is here, over at eCCP, and differs somewhat from Thom’s. The takeway excerpt is: Credit Suisse has important implications for antitrust practice. The decision’s effect is to narrow the scope of antitrust law and to invite efforts by regulated industries to narrow it still further. The court’s “clearly incompatible†standard is new and (though it ... My Take on Credit Suisse . . .

Dr. Miles Overruled!!!

Josh, Thom, and I all predicted correctly that Dr. Miles would be overruled. We even predicted the vote count! I had hoped that Justice Breyer would join the majority, but instead he joined with Justices Ginsberg, Souter, and Stevens (as predicted) in dissent. The opinion is here.

More Thoughts on the Leegin Transcript

A few more thoughts to supplement Josh’s fine posting on the transcript of oral argument in Leegin. I don’t understand Justice Breyer. He recognizes that there are at least some circumstances in which RPM helps consumers. Why isn’t that enough for Dr. Miles to be overruled? Justice Breyer regards this as a “close case” (presumably ... More Thoughts on the Leegin Transcript

Sirius/XM: You Heard It Here First!

Today’s report that Sirius and XM plan to merge vindicates the antitrust analysis offered here last June. Regulators should analyze the merger from a broad “audio market” perspective that includes terrestrial radio. Considering the extensive non-satellite content available to listeners, and considering as well the efficiencies associated with the Sirius/XM combination, it is reasonable to ... Sirius/XM: You Heard It Here First!

Steamy Espresso

A few weeks ago, I suggested that Belvi’s antitrust suit against Starbucks is weak and ought to be dismissed. This report in today’s Seattle Times further strengthens the case for dismissal. Competition in the Seattle market for espresso is apparently more intense than Belvi’s complaint would have us believe!

Lott v. Levitt: Low Stakes?

Michael Abramowicz over at Concurring Opinions has an interesting post about the ongoing litigation between economists John Lott and Steven Levitt. Lott’s suit alleges that Levitt defamed him in his recent book Freakonomics by suggesting that Lott’s research on the relation between guns and crime could not be “replicated” by other scholars and in a ... Lott v. Levitt: Low Stakes?

Domain Name Hijacking

Dan Solove over at Concurring Opinions reports on an insidious practice that unfortunately has become increasingly common: domain name hijacking. Here’s how it works. The original owner of a popular website fails to renew its domain name prior to the expiration of the owner’s entitlement. An opportunistic “hijacker” then purchases the name and offers to ... Domain Name Hijacking

Espresso Exclusivity?

Belvi Coffee and Tea Exchange cannot be serious. The firm is suing Starbucks for exclusive dealing in the Seattle and Bellevue, Washington real estate markets. The suit alleges that Starbucks has leased real estate at above-market prices in exchange for commitments by the landlords to exclude other coffee shops from the building. Let’s take Belvi’s ... Espresso Exclusivity?