About the Conference


In 2017, the Stigler Center embarked on an ambitious project to reinvigorate the discussion of concentration and monopoly in the United States, culminating in the conference Is There a Concentration Problem in America? In 2018, the Center again brought together scholars and experts to consider digital platforms specifically. From the 2018 conference on Digital Platforms and Concentration a consensus emerged that the issues raised by these platforms must be addressed, and—to provide independent expertise on potential policy responses—the Center formed a Committee for the Study of Digital Platforms and organized its 2019 conference on Digital Platforms, Markets and Democracy: A Path Forward. The pandemic forced us to move online, so between 2020 and 2021 we hosted a Virtual Conference Webinar Series on the interconnection between market and political power called Monopolies and Politics.

Antitrust policy has reached what appears to be an inflection point—both in academia and in policy-making—that may lead to once in a generation changes in its scope and intensity. The goal of our 2022 Conference Antitrust: What’s Next?  is to take stock of the ongoing debates, understand the strengths and weaknesses of the different antitrust-reform camps, and discuss and inform the future of competition policy in the United States and abroad.

On April 21st and 22nd, the Stigler Center will host a series of discussions on frontier topics such as the future of the consumer welfare standard, antitrust enforcement in labor markets and in digital markets, the connection between market power and freedom of speech, and how to ensure that academics working in antitrust remain independent from special interest influence.

This conference is by invitation only.

The conference was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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AGENDA

subject to change; all times listed are Chicago/Central time

APRIL 21, 2022
8:00 a.m. - 8:15 a.m. CT Breakfast
8:15 a.m. - 8:20 a.m. CT

Welcome Remarks | Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost, University of Chicago

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8:20 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. CT

Opening Remarks | Filippo Lancieri, University of Chicago/ETH Zurich

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8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. CT Antitrust: What Has Changed in the Last 5 Years?
Five years have passed since we held our first Stigler Center Antitrust and Competition Conference: Is There a Concentration Problem in America? Yet, these have been intense years—antitrust policy is likely undergoing a once in a generation shift both in the United States and abroad. This initial panel will bring together different views from both sides of the Atlantic to take stock of the ongoing discussions and understand how the antitrust debate has changed since 2017.

Moderator: Henry CurrThe Economist

Alexandre de Streel, University of Namur
William Kovacic, George Washington University
Nancy Rose, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dina Srinivasan, Researcher
10:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. CT Break
10:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. CT De-Biasing Academic Research
Academics play a crucial role in helping inform the public debate by being an independent yet qualified voice. Yet, this “ideal” role of academia is increasingly under threat by the growing concentration of data in the hands of private, opaque parties, and by an apparent growth in consulting and other practices that may generate conflicts of interest. This panel will explore what safeguards the academic community must develop to ensure its real and perceived independence and its valuable contributions to society.

Moderator: John Barrios, Washington University in St Louis

Anat Admati, Stanford University
Nick Feamster, University of Chicago
Christian Leuz, University of Chicago
Tommaso Valletti, Imperial College London
11:45 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. CT Break
12:10 p.m. - 1:20 p.m. CT

Lunch | Keynote

The Honorable Jonathan Kanter, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

In conversation with:

Tommaso Valletti, Imperial College London

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1:20 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. CT Break
1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. CT Data: Sharing While Protecting?
Data has never been more abundant. Yet, and somewhat paradoxically, ensuring independent access to data sources has also never been more crucial: the more private databases expand and grow in importance, the more companies and others can selectively use it as a tool to promote their interests. We are also witnessing the rise of data privacy regimes, which pose an additional hurdle to data access. This panel will convene leading experts in this field for a hands-on discussion on the successes and failures of past data access/sharing initiatives, and what challenges must be overcome if we are to access and share data while protecting privacy.

Moderator: Filippo Lancieri, University of Chicago/ETH Zurich 

Julia Angwin, The Markup
John de Figueiredo, Duke University
Laura Edelson, New York University
Lior Strahilevitz, University of Chicago
3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. CT Break
3:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. CT Has Antitrust Failed Workers?
Perhaps one of the hottest discussions in the antitrust community right now is whether competition policy has neglected the impact of market concentration on workers, and what does it mean for both the labor share and for economic inequality more broadly defined. In this panel, we will discuss whether antitrust has indeed failed workers, and what, if anything, can be done about it.

Moderator: Leah Nylen, Politico

Jan Eeckhout, Pompeu Fabra University
Austan Goolsbee, University of Chicago
Ioana Marinescu, University of Pennsylvania
Eric Posner, University of Chicago
4:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. CT Break
5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. CT Reception
6:15 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. CT

Dinner | Keynote
The Honorable Ken Buck (R-CO), U.S. House of Representatives

In conversation with:

Nancy Rose, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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APRIL 22, 2022
8:00 a.m. - 8:10 a.m. CT Breakfast
8:10 a.m. - 8:40 a.m. CT Breakfast Chat | From Theory to Practice: Academics in Government
Perhaps a distinctive feature of antitrust policy is the high level of engagement between academics and policymakers. Occasionally, some academics go through the revolving door and become enforcers. Join us for an open conversation on some of the experiences and potential lessons learned by some of those who have tried to bridge theory and practice in competition law.

A conversation between:

William Kovacic, George Washington University
Fiona Scott Morton, Yale University
8:40 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. CT Break
8:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. CT What is the Future of the Consumer Welfare Standard?
It is difficult to find a more central concept to US antitrust enforcement than the Consumer Welfare Standard. For its defenders, the Standard centers antitrust policy on a clear, coherent goal—preventing it from being ‘hijacked’ by market losers. For others, the Standard is itself the tool that enabled the ‘hijacking’ of antitrust policy away from its goals of protecting both the competitive process and economic liberty. Some want to keep it, others reform it, and some want to eliminate it. In this panel we will hear from and discuss the multiple different views. Paraphrasing the dictum: “The Consumer Welfare Standard is dead, long live the Consumer Welfare Standard?”

Moderator: Luigi Zingales, University of Chicago

Alden Abbott, George Mason University
Doha Mekki, United States Department of Justice
Fiona Scott Morton, Yale University
Zephyr Teachout, Fordham University
10:15 a.m. - 10:25 a.m. CT Break
10:25 a.m. - 11:55 a.m. CT Big Tech and Freedom of Speech
The internet has enabled a massive expansion of speech. At the same time, it has empowered a new cohort of gatekeepers: digital platforms so large that their content moderation decisions span the globe and shape how our societies and democracies evolve. Is Big Tech’s market power an enabler or a threat to freedom of speech? And is it time to reform the rules that govern speech in this digital world?

Moderator: Binyamin Appelbaum, The New York Times

Gilad Edelman, WIRED
Francis Fukuyama, Stanford University
Eric Goldman, Santa Clara University
Ellen Goodman, Rutgers University
11:55 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. CT Break
12:20 p.m. - 1:20 p.m. CT

Lunch | Keynote

The Honorable Lina Khan, Chair, U.S. Federal Trade Commission

In conversation with:

Guy Rolnik, University of Chicago

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1:20 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. CT Break
1:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. CT Big Tech – Opportunities & Remedies: The Google Case
Over the past five years, antitrust enforcement against Big Tech has picked up steam in the United States and abroad. This panel will focus on the litigation involving Google and its practices in the online search market: are the theories of harm against Google solid? And what antitrust and regulatory remedies, if any, could effectively promote competition in online search?

Moderator: Jacob Schlesinger, The Wall Street Journal

Cristina Caffarra, Charles River Associates
Sarah Miller, American Economic Liberties Project
Randal Picker, University of Chicago
Steven Tadelis, University of California Berkeley
3:15 p.m. - 3:25 p.m. CT Break
3:25 p.m. - 4:55 p.m. CT Big Tech – Opportunities & Remedies: The Facebook Case
Over the past five years, antitrust enforcement against Big Tech has picked up steam in the United States and abroad. This panel will focus on the litigation involving Facebook and its practices in the social media market: are the theories of harm against Facebook solid? And what antitrust and regulatory remedies, if any, could effectively promote competition in the social media world?

Moderator: Adam Lashinsky, Journalist

Michal Gal, University of Haifa
Nicolas Petit, European University Institute
Matt Stoller, American Economic Liberties Project
Luigi Zingales, University of Chicago
4:55 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. CT

Closing Remarks | Luigi Zingales, University of Chicago

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Conference Organizers

  • Luigi Zingales, Robert C. McCormack Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance & Charles M. Harper Faculty Fellow, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Guy Rolnik, Clinical Professor of Strategic Management, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Filippo Lancieri, Post-Doctoral Fellow, ETH Zurich Center for Law and Economics; Research Fellow, Stigler Center, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Conference Venue:

Gleacher Center
450 Cityfront Plaza Dr, Chicago, IL 60611

For more information, contact:

Sebastian Burca, Senior Associate Director, Stigler Center
773.834.2054
sebastian.burca@chicagobooth.edu