The University of Chicago Business Law Review

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The rise of large digital platforms, accompanied by claims of increasing industrial concentration, has prompted calls for antitrust policy reform. Yet, the observed market trends are consistent with improvements in welfare, as economies of scale often decentralize effective choices and disintermediate previously dominant structures, unleashing entrepreneurship. Evidence of deleterious impacts from the rise of the leading platforms—via mergers, predation, vertical foreclosure, and tying practices— is scant. The difficulty in amassing such evidence is implied in the argument that antitrust enforcement should no longer be focused on estimating consumer welfare impacts using traditional price theory. Recommendations for the creation of an independent Digital Regulator ironically buttress this view. This approach invokes an unwarranted rejection of the advantages of the evidentiary standards imposed by antitrust courts and risks the rent-seeking outcomes experienced with industry-specific regulators.

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