FTC Announces Second Session of Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century September 21 at the FTC

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For Release

The Federal Trade Commission will hold the second session of its 21st Century Hearings initiative with a full-day event on September 21 at the FTC’s Constitution Center facilities in Washington, D.C. The event will be webcast live.

Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter will make opening remarks. Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz will deliver an opening address on the state of competition in the United States, and former FTC Chairman William E. Kovacic will deliver remarks on the evolution of U.S. antitrust law. The morning session will feature two moderated panel discussions on the state of U.S. antitrust law. The afternoon session will feature a moderated panel discussion on monopsony power. Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen will offer closing remarks.

Specific topics to be discussed at the sessions include (but are not limited to):

  • whether the consumer welfare standard is the appropriate standard for antitrust law and, if not, whether other standards, including a total welfare standard, should be preferred;
  • whether and, if so, how antitrust law should take into account additional public policy concerns such as income or wealth distribution, the bargaining power of large entities, or labor and employment considerations; 
  • the accuracy and relevance of recent research identifying increases in concentration across broadly defined economic sectors, as well as some recent studies suggesting changes in price-cost margins over time, and what influence, if any, this existing research should have on antitrust law and policy;
  • what are the highest priority reforms that would improve U.S. antitrust enforcement policy; 
  • whether there are material differences between antitrust/competition policy and law in the United States and the rest of the world, and the effects of such differences;  
  • whether U.S. antitrust agencies should be involved in curbing the application to U.S. firms of foreign competition laws that may be inconsistent with international norms, and whether antitrust agencies should seek the assistance of the U.S. trade and foreign policy agencies in preventing or rectifying such situations;
  • whether antitrust agencies and the courts pay too little or too much attention to the error costs of more or less antitrust enforcement;
  • whether antitrust agencies and courts should balance procompetitive and anticompetitive effects across relevant markets in the analysis of mergers and acquisitions;
  • the evidence of monopsony power in the economy, and whether it is more likely or prevalent in some sectors or markets;
  • whether, and how, mergers create buyer power; if so, whether and how this is distinct from monopsony power; and what harms buyer power or monopsony power may cause to sellers and/or consumers in downstream markets; and
  • whether the antitrust agencies give sufficient recognition to the potential for buyer power acquired through a merger to enhance competition by enabling the parties to exercise countervailing power, or to the potential for existing buyer power to inhibit merging sellers from exercising market power.

The Commission invites public comment on these topics specifically and more generally. Comments can be submitted electronically until November 15.

The FTC’s Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century will accommodate as many attendees as possible; however, admittance may be limited due to seating availability. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests for accommodations should be submitted to Elizabeth Kraszewski via email at ekraszewski@ftc.gov or by phone at (202) 326-3087. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodation needed. Please allow at least five days advance notice for accommodation requests; last minute requests will be accepted but may not be possible to accommodate.

Additional sessions of the FTC’s 21st Century Hearings initiative will be held throughout the fall and early winter. An initial list of sessions and topics follows, and additional sessions and topics will be announced in the fall:

October 15-17, 2018 - George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

  • Identification and Analysis of Collusive, Exclusionary, and Predatory Conduct by Digital and Technology-Based Platform Businesses
  • Antitrust Framework for Evaluating Acquisitions of Potential or Nascent Competitors in Digital Marketplaces
  • Antitrust Evaluation of Labor Markets

October 23-24, 2018 - FTC Constitution Center

  • Innovation and Intellectual Property Policy

November 6-7, 2018 - American University Washington College of Law

  • Privacy, Big Data, and Competition

November 13-14, 2018 - Howard University School of Law

  • Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics

Hearing #2 On Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century
9:00 am to 4:30 pm, September 21, 2018
FTC Constitution Center Auditorium
400 7th St., SW, Washington, DC
View the agenda

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Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Peter Kaplan
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2334

STAFF CONTACTS:
Derek Moore or John Dubiansky
Office of Policy Planning
ccphearings@ftc.gov