A heretical rationale for antitrust: transfers

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Many ex post rationalisations of antitrust have been proposed: efficiency, freedom and fairness.

Here is an additional one based on transfers.

Governments expend resources to make individuals wealthier.

This is achieved through a variety of welfare programs, subsidies and tax measures.

A firm with monopoly power can undermine such payments by appropriating them.

Hence, societies would need antitrust laws to preserve the effectiveness of public transfers.

Some policy implications?

  • Where individuals do not enjoy transfers, there is no place for antitrust;
  • Where individuals enjoy transfers, there should be antitrust protection.

Applied to tech, there would be no State aid case against Apple.

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