Odds and Ends of Research–Mostly Odds

by on May 23, 2008 · 6 comments

From an interesting collection of economists, including L. Vernon Smith and Cass Sunstein, a paper calling for changes to facilitate the growth of prediction markets.

Another paper on happiness research and cost-benefit analysis. “Opportunity cost, Opportunity Cost!” shrieks Ludwig von Lachman from beyong the grave.

Here is a more questionable contribution from the more mainstream Herbert Hovenkamp. ., “Innovation and the Domain of Competition Policy” “U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-07 . The paper advocates the more expansive use of antitrust law in intellectual property disputes, on the grounds that IP law has been tainted by rent-seeking, and that antitrust law has not. Granted, that the antitrust statutes have not been much revised. So the lobbying action is at the DOJ, the FTC, and pretty much everywhere else rather than in the halls of Congress. And yet more action in the offices of the countless economic consultancies that have sprung up, spouting reams of game theoretic nonsense in the pursuit of fat expert witness fees. And the antitrust bar. Dr. Hovenkamp has been fortunate to remain oblivious to it all. See George Bittlingmayer at  http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=344040.

Another curiousity is this paper by Dr. Richard Gilbert, proposing that “innovation” as such also be subject to antitrust scrutiny when the distribution of market power is interesting. Talk about subjecting ordinary business conduct to a chilling and error-prone regulatory regime. I read it through wondering if it was a clever reductio ad absurdum of the whole enterprise, but in the end when there was no punch line delivered I concluded sadly that the author was serious.  Gilbert, Richard, “Holding Innovation to an Antitrust Standard,” 3 Competition Policy 47 (2007).   http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=987322

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