Course - Law
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Prerequisites:

None

 
Recommended Courses:

None

 
Overview

This course focuses on how the antitrust laws regulate the activities of firms, consumers, and other players (to use a word I loathe) in our market-oriented society.  The course will focus on various activities by these groups, and evaluate whether various activities are (and should be) illegal.  Some specific topics include: monopolization; predatory pricing and other predatory behavior; price fixing and territorial allocation among competitors; resale price maintenance and market allocation imposed by a manufacturer or retailers; mergers.

 

Antitrust is the antithesis of a code course.  The statutes are very general: one prohibits Aagreements in restraint of trade, another prohibits monopolization. Thus most antitrust regulation resides in Supreme Court cases that are trying to make sense of this very general statutory guidance, and the course will use those cases to evaluate the antitrust structure.  Although the behavior this course explores is mostly firm and consumer behavior, in some ways the course is like constitutional law, as the judiciary is trying to carve out rules and policies with only very sketchy textual guidance.

 

The course I teach is interdisciplinary.  It involves some economic analysis, because one basic premise for the antitrust laws is to promote a competitive environment. But the course is designed to teach the economics and to give you a chance to use it.  I do not assume that you will bring a sophisticated theoretical background with you.  The course is designed for people who do not necessarily have economic background.  I find that people who do not have the background are crucial to the course, because the economic propositions need to be challenged.  If you have an economic background, however, you will not be bored.  Antitrust also involves exploration of human behavior generally, and thus is something of a law/psychology course as well.

 

In general, if you have a willingness to suspend belief and learn something new, and to do some straightforward identification of behavior by consumers and producers, you will be likely to enjoy antitrust.  The point of the course is to give you the ability to do antitrust.

 
Materials

Trade Regulation Cases and Materials (5th Edition) by Pitofsky, Goldschmid and Wood

 
Course Format

I use a lot of different teaching devices, including discussion, lecture, role-play, small discussion groups, written exercises, discussion paper, you name it. I dont insist on massive participation but encourage it and try to facilitate it. This is a subject that really cant be adequately learned without coming to class every day.

 
Written Assignments

I frequently give a paper option. Usually the paper requires analysis of an industry of your choosing. The paper enhances the quality of your grade if done well.

 
Type of Exam

The exam will be essay; sometimes it has been a take-home essay, but most people don't like that. Sometimes it is open book, sometimes it is closed book. To be honest, some people find my exams to be hard, but not appallingly so. I test for analytic skills & ability to explain what you know.

 
Basis for grading

Essay exam plus paper. Usually the paper will not hurt, but can raise your grade by up to one letter grade. If you don=t do a paper, your exam grade is your course grade.

 
Additional Comments

If you are interested, come talk to me about the course. 

 
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