Economics Research at the FTC: Information, Retrospectives, and Retailing

Luke Froeb, Daniel Hosken, and Janis Pappalardo

Individual Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cases invariably raise broad questions about consumers, markets, and effective enforcement policy. Recent consumer protection cases raise questions about information regulation. Horizontal merger enforcement has recently focused on retrospective analysis of mergers and the role of the retail sector in predicting the effects of manufacturer mergers. In this paper, we describe research by the FTC’s Bureau of Economics that addresses these three areas. We argue that such research is well worth the agency’s relatively small resource investment because it demonstrably contributes to more thoughtful policy analysis and better policy outcomes.