miércoles, 12 de enero de 2011

Carlton y el more economic approach

Carlton es uno de los más lúcidos economistas que se han ocupado del Derecho de la Competencia. En este breve paper, de 2007, aborda algunos temas cen-trales (Dennis W., Does Antitrust Need to be Modernized? (January 2007). Economic Analysis Group Discussion Paper No. 07-3. Algunas anotaciones al margen:
Es el bienestar general lo que hay maximizar.
Los que afirman que hay que maximizar el bienestar de los consumidores se equivocan porque entonces tendrían que considerar legítimos los cárteles entre compradores (el daño que sufran los vendedores sería irrelevante)
A proponent of the consumer surplus objective for antitrust commits at least two logical errors. First, if only consumers matter, then a buying cartel should be perfectly legal and indeed should be encouraged. Monopsony harm would not matter at all in antitrust cases because the fact that sellers are harmed is irrelevant under a consumer surplus standard. Second, the notion that antitrust should focus on consumers, not firms, is premised on a false vision of who are consumers and who are firms. Most transactions in our economy are between firms. Firms are typically both the consumers and the sellers. The image of antitrust protecting innocent individuals from evil corporate empires is misleading (though sometimes effective). Moreover, firms are owned by shareholders, so profits do flow back to consumers
No hay que distinguir entre grupos de consumidores
O sea, si una fusión beneficia a los consumidores – los usuarios del transporte aéreo - , aunque perjudique a algún grupo – los dublineses – no debe prohibirse salvo que queramos autorizar solo las fusiones que supongan mejoras de Pareto (recuérdese Ryanair/Aer Lingus)
However, even if one uses consumer surplus as the objective, I think it is generally a mistake to distinguish amongst groups of consumers. Every act of a firm likely harms some consumers and benefits others. Consider an airline merger that will lead to a very efficient route structure but will also result in less service to some remote city. Most passengers are benefited, a few are hurt. Even if one is concerned only with consumers, it is not sensible to stop such mergers if the benefits outweigh the harm. Otherwise, every merger could be stopped if only one customer is harmed.
El abuso de posición dominante y la persecución del resto de las infracciones – acuerdos verticales - debería dejarse al private enforcement.
Bueno, él no dice exactamente eso:
“Remedies for anticompetitive exclusionary conduct can be hard to fa-shion, as the Microsoft case illustrates. The difficulty of devising effective remedies does not necessarily mean the government should refrain from prosecuting such matters, because a liability finding likely would trigger private actions in which monetary damages could be awarded”
Pero si hay un ámbito en el que está justificado promover las private claims en el ámbito del Derecho de la Competencia es el abuso de posición dominante por medio de actos excluyentes (porque los excluidos tienen incentivos para demandar y la información es pública o se puede obtener con más facilidad que la que revele un cártel).
Siguiendo esta lógica, si la finalidad de las multas es disuasoria, deberían imponerse sólo donde no quepa esperar que las demandas privadas – de los perjudicados por los acuerdos o las conductas – florezcan y garanticen la internalización por el dominante de los efectos de su conducta, de modo que la imposición de multas sólo está justificada para los cárteles
Under the Sherman Act, antitrust damage equals treble the overcha-rge, regardless of whether the anticompetitive act is overt or not. For example, cartel activity is typically covert. A multiple of 3 is appropriate if we detect cartels only 1/3 of the time… In contrast, a firm’s decision to employ exclusive territories, or to use bundled discounts, to tie its product to others, or to lower its price are all actions observable in the marketplace. Absent litigation costs and legal error, there is no justification for treble damages in those situations since the acts are observable to all and single damages (including lost surplus) are optimal. This suggests the possibility that at least for overt acts the current damage system over-deters by inefficiently penalizing acts that raise total surplus. There is an obvious financial incentive for plaintiffs to fashion claims as antitrust actions in order to obtain treble damages when only single damages are otherwise available. For example, contract disputes such as those between franchisee and franchisors are often brought as antitrust suits precisely to obtain treble damages.
Definición del mercado relevante
No se puede resumir la cuestión en menos palabras: la cuestión es qué constricciones competitivas soportan las empresas que se fusionan o la que es acusada de abuso de posición dominante y qué pasa con la demanda cuando sube los precios
In the absence of the antitrust laws, economists would spend much less time discussing what the denominator of a market share should include. Instead, they would try to econometrically estimate demand systems to get a sense of substitution patterns amongst different products and then use that knowledge to estimate the effect of either a merger or some questioned business practice. Market shares… are based on the correct intuition that with lots of roughly similar firms competing, market power should not be a serious concern, where market power presumably means some ability to price so far above the competitive level (usually taken to be marginal cost) that it raises policy concerns.
Y, especialmente en los casos de abuso de posición dominante
The defendant can avoid trial by convincing the court that he has no market power. The economist probably would prefer to inquire whether the alleged misbehavior had an anticompetitive effect and, if it could (or did) not, the economist would explain why that finding should trigger dismissal of the case.

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