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  • Commentary posted September 25, 2014 by Alden Abbott The ICN’s Recommended Practices on Competition Assessment: Reflections on Measuring Competitive Harm

    CPI ICN Column edited by Maria Coppola (U.S. Federal Trade Commission) The ICN’s Recommended Practices on Competition Assessment: Reflections on Measuring Competitive Harm - Alden F. Abbott (Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, Heritage Foundation)[1] The International Competition Network’s (ICN) adoption of 13 “Recommended Practices on Competition…

  • Commentary posted September 23, 2014 by Alden Abbott Enterprise Cities, Competition, and Economic Growth

    Shanker Singham of the Babson Global Institute (formerly a leading international trade lawyer and author of the most comprehensive one-volume work on the interplay between competition and international trade policy) has published a short article introducing the concept of “enterprise cities.”  This article, which outlines an incentives-based, market-oriented approach to…

  • Legal Memorandum posted September 10, 2014 by Alden Abbott The Federal Trade Commission’s Role in Online Security: Data Protector or Dictator?

    Background: The Online Data Security Problem While the phrase “identity theft” typically brings to mind stolen credit cards and false identity badges, another key area where privacy violations can occur is less visible but equally insidious: corporate data breaches. Companies’ online data protection practices have a major impact on consumer privacy. Target’s 2013…

  • Commentary posted August 19, 2014 by Alden Abbott How to Reform Operation Choke Point

    “Operation Choke Point” (OCP) is an interdepartmental initiative by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and federal financial services regulators to discourage financial intermediaries from dealing with consumer fraud-plagued industries.  In an August 4 Heritage Foundation Legal Memorandum, I discuss the misapplication of this potentially beneficial project and recommend…

  • Commentary posted August 6, 2014 by Alden Abbott New Heritage Study Highlights Anticompetitive Features of Obamacare and Points the Way to Needed Reforms

    A study released today by the Heritage Foundation (authored by Christopher M. Pope) succinctly describes the inherently anticompetitive nature of Obamacare, which will tend to inflate prices, not reduce costs: “The growth of monopoly power among health care providers bears much responsibility for driving up the cost of health care over recent years. By mandating that…

  • Legal Memorandum posted August 4, 2014 by Alden Abbott “Choking Off” Disfavored Businesses and Their Clients: How Operation Choke Point Undermines the Rule of Law and Harms the Economy

    Misapplication of a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) program known as Operation Choke Point (OCP) threatens to impose substantial costs on fully legal but government-disfavored categories of businesses, according to a May 29, 2014, report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.[1] As outlined in the House Report, OCP is implemented through DOJ…

  • Commentary posted July 28, 2014 by Alden Abbott Conditional Pricing Practices and the Limits of Antitrust

    The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) June 23 Workshop on Conditional Pricing Practices featured a broad airing of views on loyalty discounts and bundled pricing, popular vertical business practices that recently have caused much ink to be spilled by the antitrust commentariat.  In addition to predictable academic analyses featuring alternative theoretical anticompetitive…

  • Commentary posted July 17, 2014 by Alden Abbott A Reply to the Rubins on Crony Capitalism

    Paul H. Rubin and Joseph S. Rubin advance the provocative position that some crony capitalism may be welfare enhancing. With all due respect, I am not convinced by their defense of government-business cronyism.  “Second best correction” arguments can be made with respect to ANY inefficient government rule.  In reality, it is almost impossible to calibrate the degree of…

  • Commentary posted July 17, 2014 by Alden Abbott A Cost-Benefit Framework for Antitrust Enforcement Policy

    Debates among modern antitrust experts focus primarily on the appropriate indicia of anticompetitive behavior, the particular methodologies that should be applied in assessing such conduct, and the best combination and calibration of antitrust sanctions (fines, jail terms, injunctive relief, cease and desist orders).  Given a broad consensus that antitrust rules should…

  • Commentary posted July 8, 2014 by Alden Abbott Supremes Preserve Fraud on the Market (and Bail Out Class Action Plaintiffs) - Time for Congress to Kill it

    On June 23 the Supreme Court regrettably declined the chance to stem the abuses of private fraud-based class action securities litigation.  In Halliburton v. EPJ Fund (June 23, 2014), a six-Justice Supreme Court majority (Chief Justice Roberts writing for the Court, joined by Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan) reversed the Fifth Circuit and held that a class…

  • Legal Memorandum posted June 25, 2014 by Alden Abbott Strengthening Property Rights and the U.S. Economy Through Federal Trade Secret Protection

    Strong protection for intellectual property (IP) is vitally important to the health of the United States economy. IP industries account for more than 40 percent of U.S. economic growth and employment, and they create strong incentives for investments in innovation that drive future U.S. economic growth and innovation.[1] Currently, owners of three of the four major…

  • Commentary posted May 28, 2014 by Alden Abbott Need for Chinese Antitrust Reform Spotlighted at ABA Beijing Conference

    The American Bar Association’s (ABA) “Antitrust in Asia:  China” Conference, held in Beijing May 21-23 (with Chinese Government and academic support), cast a spotlight on the growing economic importance of China’s six-year old Anti-Monopoly Law (AML).  The Conference brought together 250 antitrust practitioners and government officials to discuss AML enforcement policy. …

  • Commentary posted May 15, 2014 by Alden Abbott The Ninth Circuit Rescues the Government Raisin Cartel

    On May 9, 2014, in Horne v. Department of Agriculture, the Ninth Circuit struck a blow against economic liberty by denying two California raisin growers’ efforts to recover penalties imposed against them by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The growers’ heinous offense was their refusal to continue participating in a highly anticompetitive cartel.  In order to…

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