Economics at the FTC: Cases and Research, with a Focus on Petroleum

Luke M. Froeb, James C. Cooper, Mark W. Frankena, Paul A. Pautler, and Louis Silvia

Economics at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) covers both the antitrust and consumer protection missions. In this year’'s essay, we focus mainly on the competition-side of the agency. Drawing on a wealth of recent research, we provide descriptive and analytical information about the petroleum industry. Mergers, as always, were a major preoccupation of the FTC, and we discuss a few oil industry mergers as well as one leading litigated case – Arch Coal’'s acquisition of Triton Coal. Finally, we review the empirical literature on the effects of vertical restraints, noting that the literature supporting an animus toward such restraints is surprisingly weak.