Skip to main content

Student Projects


Antitrust Law and Market Realities

Over the past several decades, there has been growing concern among economists and lawyers that antitrust law is losing touch with changes in the way business works and advances in the field of economics. Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division invited this year’s Thurman Arnold Project students to write papers on areas of the law where antitrust law needs to be updated to reflect market realities.

The students delved into a wide range of crucial topics in their research papers, including how certain acquisitions by private equity firms can be anticompetitive, how loyalty rebates can be framed as a type of exclusive dealing, and the role of executive testimony as evidence in antitrust trials. During the spring term, AAG Kanter traveled to New Haven to engage in discussions with students regarding developments in their papers. Additionally, he delivered a speech on antitrust law to members of the Thurman Arnold Project and the wider Yale community.

The final papers were presented to members of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. on May 24-25, 2023.

Student paper topics follow along with the names of the authors.

1. Data Acquisition as Monopolization in Digital Platform Markets
Matene Alikhani
Brandon Nye
Bruno Renzetti

2. Addressing The Potential and Pitfalls of Dynamic Pricing Algorithms
Kart Kandula

3. Online Choice Architecture and Behavioral Economics – The Role for Antitrust Law
Michelle Fang
Marcela Mattiuzzo

4. Antitrust Enforcement and Private Equity
Kate Conlow
Fiona Scott Morton

5. Reforming HSR Premerger Notification and Review
Daniel Backman

6. A New Approach to Digital Market Mergers: Platform Competition Analysis
Teddy Watler
Raj Bhargava
Samuel Turner

7. A Strategy for Challenging Anticompetitive Refusals to Deal in the Digital Economy
Alissa Johnson
Shreyas Gandlur
Brandon Baum-Zepeda

8. Buying Friends to Break Rivals: A Legal and Economic Case Against Anticompetitive Loyalty Rebates
Lily Johnston
Jacqueline Huang
Cameron Steger
Paul Meosky

9. An Epic Rebuke of Antitrust Hyper-Formalism
Leslie Lei
Jose Maria Marella
Jeremy Rhee

10. The Wrong Questions: Addressing Executive Testimony in Merger Review Trials
Nick Jacobson
Sahil Alim


Digital Platform Regulation

Our basis for this project on digital platforms is that antitrust enforcement will not be enough – by itself – to generate competition and good outcomes for consumers. Particularly given the slow start to antitrust enforcement in this sector, some sort of US regulation of digital platforms will be needed going forward, just as Europe has recently adopted the DMA and the DSA. US citizens and consumers will benefit if that regulation promotes competition and innovation. 

Yale students have come together to write a collection of policy papers on important issues in digital platform regulation. The papers address questions such as:  What kind of agency will be best to regulate platforms? How could rulemaking be designed to increase competition? What are technical means to create interoperability? How should algorithms be evaluated? How can blockchain be used anticompetitively? How would the divestiture of the Android operating system change competition in general search? 

Regulation can have many goals including protection of consumers, redistribution of surplus, elimination of bias, promotion of innovation, and importantly, protection and enhancement of competition. The TAP approach is to think of competition as a ‘whole of government’ activity, and therefore regulation of digital platforms is another tool to strengthen competition in this sector. The regulatory ideas that follow are designed to be pro-competitive: they lower barriers to entry, make product attributes salient to consumers, and lower switching costs (e.g. a privacy regulation should not entrench the dominant firm and raise entry barriers). Carefully designed regulations on privacy, security, portability, interoperability, etc., make competition stronger. 

Student paper topics follow along with the names of the authors.

1. What is the Optimal Regulatory Structure to Govern Digital Platforms?
Jackson Busch
Lorand Laskai

2. Effective FTC Rulemaking at the Conjunction of Consumer Protection and Competition
Melissa Muller

3. Social Regulation of Digital Technology: Facilitating Technological Moderation Through "Community Unplug Together" (CUT) Laws
Jack Sadler

4. Regulating Content Recommendation Algorithms in Social Media
Sachin Holdheim

5. Manipulating, Fast and Slow
Jerry Ma

6. Mandating Interoperability for Online and Mobile Messaging Services Through FTC Rulemaking
Daniel Backman
Brandon Baum
Aiden Lee
Zaakir Tameez

7. Taking Behavioralism Seriously in Digital Markets
Kart Kandula

8. Zero-Rating as Exclusionary Conduct
Bruno Renzetti

9.  Android Divestiture and a Roadmap from AT&T
Kyle Bright 
Karissa Kang

10. FCC Rulemaking + REST API: Fostering Social Media Interoperability
Topher Allen 
Kate Conlow

11. Open Banking for the Select Few: How a Lack of Regulation Enables Standard Setting that Forecloses Innovation
Matene Alikhani

12.  Move Fast and Tie Things: The Anticompetitive Dangers of Big Tech-Run Blockchain
Edward Seol


Competition Policy Modules

The challenge taken on by TAP students in the 2020–21 school year was to write a series of modules to identify settings where competition is weak or absent and propose policy solutions. The students divided into teams to cover 3 areas: agriculture, finance, and labor. They spoke with researchers and used public information to make arguments about anticompetitive behavior and harm in each sector. Below are the three modules that resulted.


Digital Platform Theories of Harm

The challenge taken on by TAP students in the 2019–20 school year was to write a series of digital platform theories of harm. The students divided into teams to cover 4 platforms and 5 theories. They used public information to make arguments about anticompetitive behavior and harm in each setting. Below are the five papers that resulted. The students presented their findings to staff and Commissioners at the Federal Trade Commission in May 2020.