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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, starting with the conference Is There a Concentration Problem in America? Six years later, our 2023 Conference addressed the future of antitrust enforcement beyond the Consumer Welfare Standard—and there was broad academic agreement that it is time to move antitrust policy and enforcement forward.

One of our most engaging panels discussed the quantitative impact of antitrust enforcement on the US macroeconomy. There, Chicago Booth's Chad Syverson asked whether there are good measures of how antitrust enforcement impacts aggregate productivity by influencing the creation and diffusion of general-purpose technology, such as computer chips or artificial intelligence. This is a fair question that deserves careful consideration from the antitrust community. It can also be extended: how can societies design antitrust and regulatory policies to promote competition and innovation. 

The first day of our two-day 2024 Antitrust Conference—Antitrust, Regulation and the Diffusion of Innovation—will focus on antitrust enforcement’s historical record of influencing the development and spread of general-purpose technology. Expert panels will discuss Syverson’s question about antitrust enforcement’s impact (or lack thereof) on the US economy and productivity. They will also interrogate famous case studies of antitrust enforcement, such as the breakup of AT&T, to discern if and how regulatory interventions have impacted innovation in the US and abroad.

The second day of the conference will turn from the past to the future. It will start with a discussion on how antitrust enforcement agencies around the world are transitioning to new regulatory competition models to tackle the unique problems endemic to digital markets. The conference will then shift to a discussion of the optimal regulatory policies that can encourage the development of competitive markets for artificial intelligence—the world’s best candidate for an innovation that can provide a boost in productivity.

This conference is by invitation only and is on the record, live-streamed, and recorded. You can register to watch the livestream video here.


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

PDF version - Agenda

Speaker Biographies

April 18, 2024

8:15 AM – 8:45 AM Breakfast
8:45 AM – 8:55 AM Welcome Remarks | Thomas Miles, University of Chicago
8:55 AM – 9:00 AM Opening Remarks | Filippo Lancieri, University of Chicago/ETH Zurich
9:00 AM – 10:40 AM How Much Does Antitrust Enforcement Affect Productivity Growth?

At last year’s conference, Chad Syverson (University of Chicago) asked whether there are good measures of the long-term effects of antitrust enforcement on productivity growth—in particular through the invention and diffusion of general-purpose technologies. Providing better answers to this question is the goal of the first half of this year’s conference. This debate will start with this first panel, which brings together economists from different fields to discuss how antitrust enforcement impacts long-term innovation.

Moderator: Chad Syverson, University of Chicago

Ufuk Akcigit, University of Chicago
Chiara Criscuolo, IFC - World Bank Group
Daniel Gross, Duke University
Tommaso Valletti, Imperial College London
John Van Reenen, London School of Economics
10:40 AM – 10:50 AM Break
10:50 AM – 12:10 PM
Case Studies: AT&T & IBM

The antitrust litigation against AT&T and IBM are two of the most discussed (and celebrated) cases in U.S. history. Some claim that both decisions shaped the creation and development of the transistor and personal computer, while others believe the actual long-term impact of this enforcement was minimal. This case study panel discusses the consequences of both cases.

Moderator: Fiona Scott Morton, Yale University

Robert Crandall, Technology Policy Institute
Richard John, Columbia University
Giovanna Massarotto, University of Pennsylvania
Tim Wu, Columbia University
12:10 PM – 12:25 PM Break
12:25 PM – 1:25 PM Lunch | Keynote: The Quest for Next: How Antitrust Shapes Competition and Innovation in Computers and Chips

Randal Picker, University of Chicago

In conversation with:
Tim Wu, Columbia University
1:25 PM – 1:40 PM Break
1:40 PM – 2:40 PM Case Studies: Microsoft

The litigation against Microsoft was another hallmark of U.S. antitrust enforcement in high-technology markets. This panel brings together three experts connected with the litigation—a plaintiff attorney, a defense expert, and a technical expert in charge of implementing the imposed remedies—to discuss the long-term impacts of that case, as well as what lessons (if any) it offers for today’s litigation against Big Tech.

Moderator: Rana Foroohar, Financial Times

Gary Reback, Carr & Ferrell LLP
Ron Schnell, Berkeley Research Group
Robert Topel, University of Chicago
2:40 PM – 2:55 PM Break
2:55 PM – 3:55 PM Case Studies: Google

Google is likely the biggest antitrust target in history—by some estimates, it is subject to more than 100 abuse of dominance cases around the world. At the same time, its leadership in markets from general search to ad tech remains solid. This panel explores what (if anything) decades of private and public litigation against the company have accomplished and what remedies (if any) could change this market structure.

Moderator: Leah Nylen, Bloomberg

Cory Doctorow, Activist, Writer, Blogger
Laura Edelson, Northeastern University
Christopher Yoo, University of Pennsylvania
3:55 PM – 4:15 PM Break
4:15 PM – 5:35 PM The End of the Beginning for the Antimonopoly Movement?

The end of the first term of the Biden administration ushers the potential conclusion to a once-in-a-generation shift toward stronger antitrust enforcement. Has the antimonopoly movement achieved its political and intellectual apogee, or is this merely the end to the beginning of the movement? If the latter, where does it go from here?

Cristina Caffarra, UCL London/Competition Research Policy Network CEPR
Barry Lynn, Open Markets Institute
Matt Stoller, American Economic Liberties Project
Zephyr Teachout, Fordham University

In conversation with:
Sohrab Ahmari, Compact
5:35 PM – 6:15 PM  Reception
6:15 PM – 7:30 PM Dinner | Keynote

The Honorable Jonathan Kanter, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice
The Honorable Lina Khan, Chair, U.S. Federal Trade Commission

In conversation with:
Guy Rolnik, University of Chicago

April 19, 2024

8:50 AM – 9:20 AM Breakfast
9:20 AM – 10:35 AM Regulatory Competition, the DMA and Innovation

2024 will mark the official entry into force of the European Digital Markets Act (DMA), one of the most significant legislative acts to increase competition in digital markets. Its avowed goals are to increase competition and spur innovation in a wide range of markets. For its critics, though, the DMA threatens regulatory overreach that could lead to improper enforcement and the diminishment of innovation and consumer welfare. This panel discusses what to expect from the DMA and whether this shift towards a new model of regulatory competition for digital markets should also happen in the U.S.

Moderator: Filippo Lancieri, University of Chicago/ETH Zurich

Elettra Bietti, Northeastern University
Fiona Scott Morton, Yale University
Maria Luisa Stasi, ARTICLE 19
10:35 AM – 11:00 AM Break
11:00 AM – 12:20 PM How (Not) To Regulate AI: Challenges and Opportunities

Regulation of artificial intelligence is the talk of the town: From the AI Act in the EU to the White House’s executive order on AI, governments around the world are scrambling to influence the development of this novel technology. Less attention, however, is paid to the potential pitfalls of AI regulation, and how it may end up entrenching incumbents and hampering innovation. This panel brings together experts from different fields to discuss how to avoid such pitfalls.

Moderator: David Dayen, The American Prospect

Joshua Gans, University of Toronto
Ellen Goodman, Rutgers University
Matt Perault, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tano Santos, Columbia University
12:20 PM – 12:35 PM Break
12:35 PM – 1:35 PM Lunch | Debate: The Proper Role of Economics in Merger Review

Moderator: Deni Mantzari, University College London
Eric Posner, University of Chicago
Carl Shapiro, University of California Berkeley
1:35 PM – 2:00 PM Break
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Privacy, Property Rights and the Diffusion of AI

The design and enforcement of privacy and copyright laws can profoundly shape the training and diffusion of foundational AI models through the creation of commons and anti-commons problems. This panel discusses the challenges in setting optimal privacy and property rights for the data that feeds AI models, as well as the potential regulatory arbitrage efforts of companies and governments around the world.

Moderator: Randal Picker, University of Chicago

Stefan Bechtold, ETH Zurich
Julie Cohen, Georgetown University
Laura Edelson, Northeastern University
3:00 PM – 3:30 PM Break
3:30 PM – 4:50 PM This Conference is NOT Funded by Big Tech

The growing push for AI regulation increases the demand for independent expertise that can help governments set the right standards. At the same time, Big Tech is spending significant resources to influence stakeholders: from the funding of academic conferences and university departments to the extensive hiring of Ph.D. students to the strategic placement of aides in Congress and regulatory agencies. This panel discusses the extent and success of this influence campaign and what can be done to safeguard this much-needed independent AI expertise.

Moderator: Brendan BordelonPolitico

Anat Admati, Stanford University
Nur Ahmed, MIT
Nick Feamster, University of Chicago
Corynne McSherry, Electronic Frontier Foundation
4:50 PM – 5:00 PM Closing Remarks | Filippo Lancieri, University of Chicago/ETH Zurich
5:00 PM Conference Adjourns

Conference Organizers

  • Luigi Zingales, Robert C. McCormack Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance, 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:

Rachel Piontek, Senior Associate Director, Stigler Center