Coase-Sandor Working Paper Series in Law and Economics

Antitrust and Labor Markets: A Reply to Richard Epstein

Eric A. Posner


In his article, The Application of Antitrust Law to Labor Markets—Then and Now, Richard Epstein argues that rather than urge courts and regulators to apply antitrust law to labor markets, reformers who care about labor market competition should try to constrain unions. In this reply, I argue that Epstein’s assumptions about labor market structure are contradicted by mountains of empirical evidence. The anticompetitive behavior of employers causes significant harm to social welfare—both in terms of economic output and equity. Antitrust law is a valuable tool for addressing America’s ailing labor markets.