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Antitrust Course

Course Guide: Antitrust in the 21st Century

Welcome to Antitrust in the 21st Century. This collection of materials is designed for those teaching antitrust law and closely related courses, and, more broadly, for anyone seeking to understand modern American antitrust law and economics. It reflects a vision of antitrust not simply as a technical area of law, but as a discipline with deep relevance to 21st century society.

The selected cases, agency materials and literature draw from a variety of industry contexts. The intent of the course design is to richly illustrate the connections between antitrust law and broader society, modern markets, and political institutions. The readings were selected with the goal of engaging a wider constituency of students than typically might be interested in the study of antitrust law, and, relatedly, to emphasize the relevance of modern antitrust law to politics, labor, technology and economics. The competition in, and performance of, the industries in the syllabus should allow students to realize why antitrust is relevant to their lives.

The course uses economic concepts but is designed to be accessible for students without any background in economics. The course includes videos that explain the economics of topics common in antitrust. These videos can be assigned as either a substitute or complement to an economic textbook and are designed to aid student understanding of the legal material.

The modules include significantly more extensive materials than would be covered in a single antitrust course. The most important readings are listed under “required readings” or “recommended readings.” Instructors who wish to assign more material or who want to cover a particular subtopic may find useful readings in the “background readings” section. The idea is that instructors can pick and choose topics so as to cover material of most interest to their students. In addition, instructors designing classes on labor law or intellectual property law, for example, may find particular modules useful. This introductory note provides guidance on how the modules might be navigated and used for the purposes of designing a standard antitrust course. In constructing a specific course syllabus, instructors should note that:

  • The modules are organized based on topics of antitrust law and economics.
  • Each module includes required, recommended, and background readings. The background readings will be useful to students who wish to study at an advanced level or write in a particular area.
  • Several modules include custom videos explaining the essential economic concepts that underpin much of modern antitrust law. These have been designed to be accessible to students without any economics background while at the same time covering the frontier topics in competition economics.
  • Each module is intended to provide standalone coverage of the titular topic. As a result, some important cases and materials are repeated across related modules. An instructor can adjust readings as desired, or students can simply enjoy a reduced workload when they are assigned material they have read before.
  • A module is set up to cover a reasonably narrow topic, but not to fit into a specified number of minutes of lecturing. Coverage of the required readings for some modules will be suitable in length for a single class, while other modules contain more extensive materials that are better suited to coverage across multiple classes.

The modules proceed first by framing the history of antitrust law, then by introducing the three basic areas of antitrust law—cartels, monopolization and mergers. From there, additional modules offer in-depth coverage of specific topics and industries of particular relevance to antitrust law. In the first few sessions after the introductory 5 classes, the course teaches common antitrust problems with examples from industries that the students are likely to have read about in the context of competition enforcement or experienced as consumers. These examples were chosen with the goal of making the subject more present and relevant to students, particularly students who might not realize how topical antitrust issues are.

An introductory course on modern antitrust law would often be expected to cover the required readings within the following modules:

Introductory Modules:

     1) Antitrust in the ‘Second Gilded Age’
     2) History of Antitrust Thought; AND

Basics Modules:

     3) Antitrust Basics-Cartels
     4) Antitrust Basics-Mergers & Acquisitions
     5) Antitrust Basics-Monopolization; AND

A selection of the topics shown in the following table. The class coverage will depend on the number of course credits, the focus of the course and the pace of instruction. The following icons are used in the table below to indicate:

The evaluations below are based on our review of several pre-existing modern antitrust course syllabi. Most antitrust courses at law schools are 3 credits (although some law schools offer antitrust courses that appear to be two paired courses, across multiple semesters). We did the best we could to estimate how many topics could fit into different types of courses. The descriptions below err on the ambitious side in terms of length because we thought instructors would prefer to plan on that basis and cut as needed.

Module Guide

- = topics not typically covered
○ = topics occasionally covered

● = topics often covered

Module Title 3-Credit Course 4-Credit Course 5-Credit Course
I .
Introductory Topics
6 Monopsony
7 Regulation Choose 1 of these 2 topics Choose 1 of these 2 topics
8 Airlines and Pricing Abuses
9 Tying and Exclusive Dealing
II.
Antitrust Problems
     
10 Healthcare Choose 1 of these 3 topics Choose 1-2 of these 3 topics Choose 2-3 of these 3 topics
11 Pharmaceuticals
12 Agriculture
13 Joint Ventures
14 Common Ownership
15 Vertical Restraints
16 Most-Favored Nation Clauses
17 Cartels and Leniency -
18 Behavioral Economics and Consumer Protection -
19 Essential Facilities and Refusals to Deal
III.
Digital Platforms
     
20 Introduction to Digital Platforms – American Express Choose 2 of 4 topics Choose 2 of 4 topics
21 Digital Platforms: Google
22 Digital Platforms: Facebook -
23 Digital Platforms: Amazon and Apple
IV.
Advanced Topics
     
24 Remedies
25 Federalism
26 Antitrust and the Political Economy - -

Finally, the following modules are recommended for specialized antitrust courses on:

  • The Political Economy of Antitrust Course: Monopsony, Regulation/Finance, Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, Antitrust and the Political Economy.
  • Technology and Antitrust Course: Microsoft: Tying and Exclusive Dealing, Digital Platforms #1-4 (inclusive), IP and Antitrust.
  • Intellectual Property and Antitrust Course: IP and Antitrust, Pharmaceuticals.

The goal of this collection of materials is to stimulate the use of modern topics in the teaching of antitrust law. The accompanying videos that explain the economics of competition enforcement are further designed to enable instructors to easily incorporate economic concepts into the course. All written materials may be used for any nonprofit educational purpose and modified as desired. Instructors are encouraged to design a course that uses whatever combination of written materials is most helpful to them and alter those materials however they wish. The videos may not be altered.

Acknowledgments

 

We are indebted to a group of junior antitrust law faculty who provided the initial vision and ideas in the spring of 2020 – on zoom – to carry out this project.

Many thanks go to a team of Yale students and former students who worked hard assembling the readings for each module:

David Bassali
Eric Brooks
Michael Enseki-Frank
Gerald Kounadis
Desiree Klingler

And particularly to Eric Brooks who managed some difficult editing, and Ketan Ahuja, our summer Fellow from Harvard, who authored the longer notes.

The legal structure and course design was overseen by Professor Erika Douglas of Temple University. Many thanks go to Professor Barak Orbach of the University of Arizona for guidance and input.

The project was supported financially by a grant from the Microsoft Corporation.

The Thurman Arnold Project is located at the Yale School of Management and is run by Professor Fiona Scott Morton, Director.

The materials on this page and those linked to it are produced by the Thurman Arnold Project led by Professor Fiona Scott Morton at the Yale School of Management. © 2022 Yale University and/or its licensors, as applicable. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under applicable copyright laws, no part may be modified, reproduced, stored or transmitted by any means or process whatsoever without the express written permission of the copyright owner.