The University of Chicago Business Law Review

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Antitrust has traditionally served consumers—how can the law regulate firms in a manner that prevents monopolization and preserves competition among sellers of goods? A recent turn in scholarship and shifting application of antitrust law from a regulatory perspective suggests the possibility for a broader expansion of antitrust protections into the labor market. Rather than considering monopoly effects in a market (where a market is dominated by a single seller), this line of work suggests a turn to focus on monopsony effects (where a market—such as a labor market—is dominated by a single buyer), and a particular focus on the risk of harm to employees created by one company dominating a labor market. Existing theoretical work on merger review regarding labor markets thus far has been in the context of traditional employees, as has been the broader consideration of antitrust’s application to labor. But the positioning of a worker that emerges from a situation like the recent attempt by publisher Penguin Random House to acquire Simon & Schuster is distinct. This Comment proposes and attempts to answer two questions: first, how can we think not only about new applications of antitrust law, but about a new category of worker? And second, how can we broadly position workers, regardless of how they may be categorized, to best respond to issues of monopsony in their relevant markets?

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