Antitrust regulation will change under Biden, but don’t expect revolution.

first_img– Advertisement – F.T.C. commissioners serve staggered terms and need Senate approval, so it could take time for the balance to shift. In any case, experts say the political climate isn’t ripe for an aggressive policy overhaul. David Vladeck, a Georgetown University law professor and former director of the F.T.C.’s consumer protection unit, said that even though “antitrust laws haven’t worked very well in the digital economy,” he doubted a revolution was either desirable or possible. Similarly, Eleanor Fox and Harry First of New York University, who recently outlined new rules to rein in Big Tech, said there was plenty of room for consensus in the ideological middle, balancing nuanced views on market efficiency and consolidation. – Advertisement – The F.T.C.’s five commissioners are currently three Republicans and two Democrats. The Democrats, Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Slaughter, often oppose the majority’s “permissive” treatment of corporations, and one of them could become the new head of the agency. Indeed, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce recently urged Mr. Simons to “immediately stop work on all partisan, controversial items,” noting that leadership “will undoubtedly be changing.” – Advertisement – A debate has raged between more laissez-faire conservatives and the so-called progressive “hipster antitrust movement” seeking a more muscular competition policy overhaul, especially toward Big Tech. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected to seek a balance between these competing ideologies.center_img And Sean Royall, a former deputy director of the F.T.C.’s competition bureau who is now a partner at the legal giant Kirkland & Ellis, said, “The changes we expect are on balance fairly moderate.” Joe Simons, the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, said Thursday that monopolies could “squash” smaller competitors by buying them, a possible warning shot ahead of the agency’s expected lawsuit against Facebook. The statement highlights how the agency’s approach to antitrust could change under a Biden administration, as the Democratic Party’s left wing pushes for even tougher enforcement, the DealBook newsletter reports.- Advertisement –last_img read more