WASHINGTON – Data indicating simultaneous increases in concentration and in margins over the past two decades have led to a global debate over how to define “too big.” The European Commission’s chief economist, Tomasso Valletti, thinks that even though the literature is still nascent, there is enough micro- and macro- level information to consider the impact these trends are having on jurisdictions internationally, as he details in this interview recorded at the 2018 ABA Spring Antitrust Meeting.
WASHINGTON – There are three lines of debate underpinning what antitrust enforcers should consider “too big”, according to the European Commission’s chief economist, Tomasso Valletti: whether current concentration and margin data are valid according to clearly defined markets; whether higher margins should trigger stricter enforcement; and whether enforcement should begin sooner, such as in a 5 to 4 merger rather than a 4 to 3 one. “That’s to give you the order of magnitude of where we are now,” says Valletti in this interview recorded at the 2018 ABA Spring Antitrust Meeting. Valletti also believes that to return to presumptive enforcement policies would be “extreme” given historical evidence they are not effective, although he emphasizes finding a balance between consumer welfare and a multi-dimensional consumer standard, informed by a sensitivity to equality and standards of living.
by Whitney McKnight