Francine Lafontaine, Director
The Bureau of Economics helps the FTC evaluate the economic impact of its actions. To do so the Bureau provides economic analysis and support to antitrust and consumer protection investigations and rulemakings. It also analyzes the impact of government regulation on competition and consumers and provides Congress, the Executive Branch, and the public with economic analyses of market processes as they relate to antitrust, consumer protection, and regulation.
Provides Economic Advice for Enforcement
The Bureau provides guidance and support to the agency’s antitrust and consumer protection activities. In the antitrust area, the Bureau participates in the investigation of alleged anticompetitive acts or practices and provides advice on the economic merits of alternative antitrust actions. If an enforcement action is initiated, the Bureau integrates economic analysis into the proceeding (sometimes providing the expert witness at trial) and works with the Bureau of Competition to devise appropriate remedies.
In the consumer protection area, the Bureau provides economic support and analysis of potential Commission actions in both cases and rulemakings handled by the Bureau of Consumer Protection. Bureau economists also provide analysis of appropriate penalty levels to deter activity that harms consumers.
Studies Effects of Legislative Options and Regulations
The Bureau participates in the advocacy program which is coordinated by the Office of Policy Planning. The Commission’s three bureaus present comments, upon request, to other agencies and entities concerning the effects of regulation on competition and consumers. At the request of lawmakers or agency officials, comments or testimony are often provided to assist legislatures’ consideration of pending bills or to assist agency rulemaking proceedings. Similarly, amicus curiae briefs may be presented to federal or state courts. These submissions advocate policies that will enhance both competition and consumer choice.
Analyzes Market Processes
The Bureau also conducts economic analyses of various markets and industries. This work focuses on the economic effects of regulation and on issues that are of importance to antitrust and consumer protection law enforcement. Many of these analyses are published as Economic Reports.