Publication | BRG Review

Antitrust Market Definition—A Review of Five Influential Papers

Audrey Boles, Sam Brott, and Michele Martin

Winter 2018

In 1982, economist and Nobel Laureate George Stigler issued the following call to action:

My lament is that this battle on market definitions, which is fought thousands of times what with all the private antitrust suits, has received virtually no attention from us economists. Except for a casual flirtation with cross-elasticities of demand and supply, the determination of markets has remained an undeveloped area of economic research at either the theoretical or empirical level.

Since that time (and, in fact, a few years prior), economists have crafted both empirical and theoretical methods that could be used to define antitrust markets to aid inquiry into competitive effects. What follows is a collection of summaries of five papers that have influenced thinking about market definition over the last thirty years.

We focus on five papers that embody interesting points in the history and evolution of thinking about market definition in the United States.

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