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The collection of all scholarly commentary on law, economics, and more

Showing archive for:  “Energy & Environment”

A Consumer-Welfare-Centric Reform Agenda for the Federal Trade Commission

As we approach a presidential election year, it is time to begin developing a  comprehensive reform agenda for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In that spirit, this post proposes 12 reforms that could be implemented by new leadership, either through unilateral action by a new chair or (in some cases) majority votes of the commission. ... A Consumer-Welfare-Centric Reform Agenda for the Federal Trade Commission

Broadband Deployment, Pole Attachments, & the Competition Economics of Rural-Electric Co-ops

In our recent issue brief, Geoffrey Manne, Kristian Stout, and I considered the antitrust economics of state-owned enterprises—specifically the local power companies (LPCs) that are government-owned under the authority of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). While we noted that electricity cooperatives (co-ops) do not receive antitrust immunities and could therefore be subject to antitrust enforcement, we ... Broadband Deployment, Pole Attachments, & the Competition Economics of Rural-Electric Co-ops

What Transmission Markets Can Learn from the FCC’s Pole-Attachment Problem

Large portions of the country are expected to face a growing threat of widespread electricity blackouts in the coming years. For example, the Western Electricity Coordinating Council—the regional entity charged with overseeing the Western Interconnection grid that covers most of the Western United States and Canada—estimates that the subregion consisting of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and ... What Transmission Markets Can Learn from the FCC’s Pole-Attachment Problem

The Catch-22 of AICOA’s Guidelines

If S.2992—the American Innovation and Choice Online Act or AICOA—were to become law, it would be, at the very least, an incomplete law. By design—and not for good reason, but for political expediency—AICOA is riddled with intentional uncertainty. In theory, the law’s glaring definitional deficiencies are meant to be rectified by “expert” agencies (i.e., the ... The Catch-22 of AICOA’s Guidelines

Dead End Road: National Petroleum Refiners Association and FTC ‘Unfair Methods of Competition’ Rulemaking

Introduction The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has long steered the direction of competition law by engaging in case-by-case enforcement of the FTC Act’s prohibition on unfair methods of competition (UMC). Recently, some have argued that the FTC’s exclusive reliance on case-by-case adjudication is too long and arduous a route and have urged the commission to ... Dead End Road: National Petroleum Refiners Association and FTC ‘Unfair Methods of Competition’ Rulemaking

Intermediaries: The Hero We Need?

In policy discussions about the digital economy, a background assumption that frequently underlies the discourse is that intermediaries and centralization always and only serve as a cost to consumers, and to society more generally. Thus, one commonly sees arguments that consumers would be better off if they could freely combine products from different trading partners. ... Intermediaries: The Hero We Need?

The Virtues and Pitfalls of Economic Models

Interrogations concerning the role that economic theory should play in policy decisions are nothing new. Milton Friedman famously drew a distinction between “positive” and “normative” economics, notably arguing that theoretical models were valuable, despite their unrealistic assumptions. Kenneth Arrow and Gerard Debreu’s highly theoretical work on General Equilibrium Theory is widely acknowledged as one of ... The Virtues and Pitfalls of Economic Models

Cooperation, Competition, and COVID-19

  Cooperation is the basis of productivity. The war of all against all is not a good model for any economy. Who said it—a rose-emoji Twitter Marxist, or a card-carrying member of the laissez faire Chicago School of economics? If you guessed the latter, you’d be right. Frank Easterbrook penned these words in an antitrust ... Cooperation, Competition, and COVID-19

COVID-19, Ghost Flights, and Emerging Property Rights in Airport Slots

One of the most visible economic effects of the COVID-19 spread is the decrease in airline customers. Alec Stapp alerted me to the recent outrage over “ghost flights,” where airlines fly nearly empty planes to maintain their “slots.”  The airline industry is unfortunately in economic freefall as governments prohibit and travelers pull back on air ... COVID-19, Ghost Flights, and Emerging Property Rights in Airport Slots

Goodhart and Bad Policy

[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 Eric Fruits, (Chief Economist, International Center for Law & Economics).] Wells Fargo faces billions of dollars of ... Goodhart and Bad Policy

Efficient Cartels and the Public Interest Defence – Do They Exist?

The concept of a “good” or “efficient” cartel is generally regarded by competition authorities as an oxymoron. A cartel is seen as the worst type of antitrust violation and one that warrants zero tolerance. Agreements between competitors to raise prices and share the market are assumed unambiguously to reduce economic welfare. As such, even if ... Efficient Cartels and the Public Interest Defence – Do They Exist?

Big Ink vs. Bigger Tech

[TOTM: The following is the fifth in a series of posts by TOTM guests and authors on the politicization of antitrust. The entire series of posts is available here.] This post is authored by Ramsi Woodcock, Assistant Professor, College of Law, and Assistant Professor, Department of Management at Gatton College of Business & Economics, University ... Big Ink vs. Bigger Tech