On Reasonable Antitrust Concern

Zhaofeng Xue

Advisor: Donald Boudreaux

Carow Hall, Conf Room
April 15, 2008, 08:00 PM to 07:00 PM


The dissertation argues that rule of reason in antitrust law should be considered as a specific guideline, and that the prosecution bears the burden of proof to demonstrate that the economic theories used to support the antitrust accusations are not only logically valid but empirically applicable. The justification of antitrust policy relies solely on economic insight into the nature of the firm and the market, which is an enterprise in progress where the economists frequently disagree with one another. This discord translates into paradoxical antitrust policies and confusing forensic rulings. The dissertation, focusing on the issues of horizontal agreements, attempts to coordinate the discord by arguing that it is not only the coherence of, but also the varying estimations of the relevance of the assumptions in antitrust economic models, that splits antitrust economics into incompatible divisions. Accordingly, the dissertation proposes a transition in antitrust litigation process towards a specific type of rule of reason, i.e., "per se legality with anticompetitive offence," as a policy implication aimed at minimizing economic misunderstandings, as well as judicial errors.