Francine Lafontaine

Former Director, Bureau of Economics


Francine Lafontaine was appointed the Director of the FTC's Bureau of Economics by Chairwoman Edith Ramirez on Sept. 29, 2014, and joined the Commission on Nov. 10, 2014. She supervises economic analysis at the FTC for both the antitrust and the consumer protection missions and advises the Commission on economic policy matters.

Lafontaine is the William Davidson Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, and Professor of Economics, both at the University of Michigan. She has served on the University of Michigan faculty for more than 20 years, after three years on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University.

She has written extensively on issues surrounding vertical integration decisions and contracts used in distribution, including franchise contracting and vertical restraints. She also studies entrepreneurship, industry dynamics and firm performance in retail and service industries. She has served as an expert in cases involving franchising and organizational economic issues.

Lafontaine earned a doctorate in Economics from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; a master’s degree in Applied Economics; and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ecole des HEC, Université de Montréal, Canada.

She was raised in Montreal, Canada.

Selected Publications

  • “Franchising and Exclusive Distribution: Adaptation and Antitrust” (with Margaret Slade), in Oxford Handbook on International Antitrust Economics, Roger Blair and Daniel Sokol (eds.), Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • “Incentive and Strategic Contracting: Implications for the Franchise Decision,” (with Margaret E. Slade) in Game Theory and Business Applications, Second Edition, K. Chatterjee and W. Samuelson (eds.) Kluwer Academic Press, 2014.
  • “Inter-Firm Contracts: The Evidence” (with Margaret Slade), in Handbook of Organizational Economics, R. Gibbons and J. Roberts (eds.) Princeton University Press, 2013.
  • “Too Far Away? The Effect of Distance to Headquarters on Business Establishment Performance” (with Arturs Kalnins). 2013. American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 5(3): 157-79.
  • “Organizational Form and Performance: Evidence from the Hotel Industry,” (with Renáta Kosová and Rozenn Perrigot). 2013. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 95(4): 1303-1323
  • “Transaction Cost Economics and Vertical Market Restrictions—Evidence”  (with Margaret Slade), The Antitrust Bulletin, 55 (3), Fall 2010.
  • “Markets: State Franchise Laws, Dealer Terminations, and the Auto Crisis” (with Fiona Scott Morton), Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24 (3): 233-50, 2010.
  • “Do Labor Market Rigidities Have Microeconomic Effects: Evidence from Within the Firm,” (with Jagadeesh Sivadasan), American Economic Journal – Applied, 1 (2): 88-127, 2009.
  • “Empirical Assessment of Exclusive Contracts” (with Margaret Slade), in Handbook of Antitrust Economics, Paolo Buccirossi (ed.) Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008.
  • “Vertical Integration and Firm Boundaries: The Evidence” (with Margaret Slade), Journal of Economic Literature, 45: 629-685, 2007.
  • “Understanding the Economics of Franchising and the Laws That Regulate It” (with Roger Blair), Franchise Law Journal, 26: 2-13, 2006.
  • “Targeting Managerial Control: Evidence from Franchising” (with Kathryn L. Shaw), RAND Journal of Economics, 36, 2005, 131-150.
  • “The Dynamics of Franchise Contracting: Evidence from Panel Data” (with Kathryn L. Shaw), The Journal of Political Economy, 107, 1999, 1041-1080.
  • “Will Khan Foster or Hinder Franchising? An Economic Analysis of Maximum Resale Price Maintenance” (with Roger Blair), Journal of Public Policy in Marketing, 18, 1999, 25-36.


The Economics of Franchising (with Roger Blair), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005 and 2011.

Selected Presentations

  • "Serial Entrepreneurship: Learning by Doing?" NBER Summer Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2014
  • "Franchising: Economics and Policy International Workshop on Franchising, Retail & Service Chains," Université de Rennes 1, 2014
  • "Delegation and Pay-for-Performance: Evidence from Industrial Sales Forces," International Society of New Institutional Economics Meetings, Florence, Italy, 2013