Antitrust and Innovation: Welcoming and Protecting Disruption
Chapter in NBER book Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 20 (2020), Josh Lerner and Scott Stern, editors (p. 125 - 190)
The goal of antitrust policy is to protect and promote a vigorous competitive process. Effective rivalry spurs firms to introduce new and innovative products, as they seek to capture profitable sales from their competitors and to protect their existing sales from future challengers. In this fundamental way, competition promotes innovation. We apply this basic insight to the antitrust treatment of horizontal mergers and of exclusionary conduct by dominant firms. A merger between rivals internalizes business-stealing effects arising from their parallel innovation efforts and thus tends to depress innovation incentives. Merger-specific synergies, such as the internalization of involuntary spillovers or an increase in the productivity of R&D, may offset the adverse effect of a merger on innovation. We describe the possible effects of a merger on innovation by developing a taxonomy of cases, with reference to recent U.S. and E.U. examples. A dominant firm may engage in exclusionary conduct to eliminate the threat from disruptive firms. This suppresses innovation by foreclosing disruptive rivals and by reducing the pressure to innovative on the incumbent. We apply this broad principle to possible exclusionary strategies by dominant firms.This chapter is no longer available for free download, since the book has been published. To obtain a copy, you must buy the book.
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Document Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1086/705642This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w26005, Antitrust and Innovation: Welcoming and Protecting Disruption, Giulio Federico, Fiona Scott Morton, Carl Shapiro