The Warren Campaign’s Antitrust Proposals

Antitrust policy promises to be an important issue in the 2020 presidential election, and for good reason. Market power as measured by price-cost margins has been on the rise since the 1980s. Unreasonably high margins reduce output, causing higher prices for consumers and fewer jobs for labor. Responding to concern about increasing market power, presidential candidate U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has recently offered two proposals directed at large tech platforms. One proposal would designate large platform-based companies such as Amazon as “platform utilities” and prohibit them from selling their own merchandise on the platform in competition with other sellers. This “structural separation” rule would apply to platforms that exceed $25 billion in annual revenue, including Amazon, Google, and Facebook. Smaller platforms would not be required to separate structurally but would be placed under a standard of “fair, reasonable, and…

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