The Bureau of Economics periodically hosts conferences and roundtable discussions that serve to further the Federal Trade Commission's mission through dialogue with policymakers and other experts. Transcripts and other materials related to these conferences and roundtables are accessible below.
The Annual Federal Trade Commission Microeconomics Conference
Every year, the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Economics hosts a two-day conference to bring together scholars working in areas related to the FTC's antitrust, consumer protection, and public policy missions. In 2023, the conference will be on November 2 and 3 and co-sponsored by the Tobin Center for Economic Policy at Yale. Conference participants present their current academic research and discuss policy issues relevant to the FTC’s competition and consumer protection missions. At previous conferences, presenters have discussed topics such as mergers, intellectual property rights, innovation, privacy, consumer choice, and advertising and participants have included government and academic economists. More information can be found at http://www.ftc.gov/microeconomics. Links to previous conferences are below.
Additional FTC Roundtables and Conferences
- Consumer Protection Economics Symposium (December 7, 2018) The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Economics hosted a one-day symposium on the economics of consumer protection, in conjunction with Economic Inquiry’s special Symposium Issue on Consumer Protection Economics. The goal of the conference was to advance the application of economics to consumer protection policy analysis and law enforcement, and in the process further the FTC’s dual mission to protect consumers and promote competition. The event also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 1978 founding of the Division of Consumer Protection within the Bureau of Economics. The symposium featured a keynote address by Professor Daniel S. Hamermesh entitled “Time Use, Time Loss: Can the Consumer Be Injured?”, as well as panel discussions and research presentations in the field of consumer protection economics.
- The Economics of Drip Pricing (May 21, 2012) The Bureau of Economics of the Federal Trade Commission is hosting a conference on the Economics of Drip Pricing on Monday May 21. Drip pricing is a pricing technique in which firms advertise only part of a product’s price and reveal other charges later as the customer goes through the buying process. The additional charges can be mandatory charges, such as taxes and hotel resort fees, or fees for optional upgrades and add-ons. The conference will examine the theoretical motivation for drip pricing and its impact on consumers, empirical studies, and policy issues pertaining to drip pricing.
- Consumer Information & the Mortgage Market (May 29, 2008) The FTC’s Bureau of Economics will host a conference on Consumer Information & the Mortgage Market on Thursday, May 29th The purpose of this conference is to highlight and assess the role of consumer information in the current mortgage crisis from an economic perspective. Experts on real estate economics, information economics, consumer behavior, and consumer information policy will examine why mortgage products and markets have changed over time, and the effect of consumer information -- and information regulation -- on mortgage choices and mortgage market outcomes.
- Grocery Store Antitrust: Historical Retrospective & Current Developments (May 24, 2007) This one-day conference looked at antitrust analysis of the grocery industry including both historical analysis and analysis of current methods. The roundtable included both paper presentations and panel sessions. The paper presentations included recent academic work related to competition in the grocery store industry. The panels included discussions from various people including academics, antitrust professionals and industry professionals. Topics included historical review of the Commission’s actions in this industry, current economic analysis of grocery and retail competition, and recent work on new methods for analyzing grocery and retail competition.
- Conference on Behavioral Economics and Consumer Policy (April 20, 2007) On April 20, The Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Economics sponsored a conference to explore research into how consumer behavior should influence consumer protection policy. The "Behavioral Economics and Consumer Policy" event brought together economists and other professionals from academia and government. Discussions included the rapidly growing field of Behavioral Economics, which uses insights from psychological research to identify ways in which consumers may systematically fail to act in their own best interests due to behavioral traits such as self-control problems, failure to process information objectively, and inaccurately predicting the costs and benefits of prospective choices.
- Roundtable on The Economics of the Pharmaceutical Industry (October 20, 2006) The Bureau of Economics held a Roundtable on The Economics of the Pharmaceutical Industry on October 20, 2006. This Roundtable brought together academic economists, government economists and industry professionals to discuss a number of important topics including the economic impact of direct-to-consumer advertising, spillovers and mergers in pharmaceutical R&D, and the economic incentives for new drug development.
- Roundtable on The Economics of Internet Auctions (October 27, 2005) The Bureau of Economics held a Roundtable on The Economics of Internet Auctions on October 27, 2005. This Roundtable brought together academic economists, government economists and industry professionals to discuss important issues such as competition, network effects, fraud, lemons problems, inference, and demand estimation.
- Roundtable on Methodologies for Assessing Accuracy and Completeness of Credit Reports (June 30, 2004) On June 30, 2004, the Bureau of Economics hosted a roundtable with researchers, scholars, and practitioners in the credit reporting industry on methodologies for assessing the accuracy and completeness of credit reports. The roundtable was held in conjunction with Section 319 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003. Among other things, the Act requires the FTC to study the accuracy and completeness of the information in consumers’ credit reports.
- Conference on Healthcare Information & Competition (April 16, 2004) The Bureau of Economics held a Healthcare Information & Competition on April 16, 2004.
- Competition and Intellectual Property Law and Policy in the Knowledge-Based Economy (October 2003) Hearings focused on the implications of antitrust and patent law and policy for innovation and other aspects of consumer welfare.
- Roundtable with Former Directors of the Bureau of Economics (September 4, 2003) On September 4, 2003, the Bureau of Economics hosted a Roundtable with former Bureau Directors entitled "FTC History: Bureau of Economics Contributions to Law Enforcement, Research and Economic Knowledge and Policy."
- Health Care and Competition Law and Policy (February 2003) Hearings will examine the state of the health care marketplace and the role of competition, antitrust, and consumer protection in satisfying citizens' preferences for high-quality, cost-effective health care.
- Roundtable on “Understanding Mergers: Strategy & Planning, Implementation and Outcomes” (December 9 - 10, 2002) The Bureau of Economics held a Merger Efficiencies Roundtable on December 9 and 10, 2002.
- Economic Perspectives on the Home Mortgage Market Roundtable Transcript (October 16, 2002) The Bureau of Economics held a Roundtable on the Economic Perspectives on the Home Mortgage Market on October 16, 2002.
- Possible Anticompetitive Efforts to Restrict Competition on the Internet (September 30, 2002) Workshop explored how certain state regulations and private business practices may be having significantly anticompetitive effects on e-commerce.
- Empirical Industrial Organization Roundtable (September 11, 2001) The Bureau of Economics held an Empirical Industrial Organization Roundtable on September 11, 2001.