Tilburg Law and Economics Center

TILEC supports and stimulates academic research on the governance of economic activity. It fosters academically path breaking and practically relevant research and aims to be a leading center worldwide.

Jan Broulík on economics in antitrust enforcement and the private benefit of scholarly commentators

Academic commentators maintain advocating more economics in antitrust enforcement than it would be optimal from the societal point of view. It has been proposed that this advocacy arises from the private benefit that the commentators obtain from the enforcement use of economics.

TILEC junior member Jan Broulik started the 2017 TILEC Discussion Paper Series with a controversial Discussion Paper No. 2017-001 in which he examines the plausibility of this proposition. He compiles the available data on the size of business and employment opportunities for antitrust practitioners to show that there is a significant private benefit associated with the enforcement use of economics. Because the boundary between antitrust practice and academia is permeable, this private benefit is capable of distorting the scholarly commentary. Literature on an analogous issue advances that such distortions of the academic discourse arising from practice-related benefits enjoyed by academic commentators are not rare. Additional incentives come from big businesses that benefit from the excessive use of economics and, therefore, reward commentary that advocates it. As a result, Broulik argues that the proposition appears to be reasonably plausible.