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Competition Policy and the Control of Buyer Power

A Global Issue

Peter C. Carstensen

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the economic and competition policy issues that buyer power creates. Drawing on economic analysis and cases from around the world, it explains why conventional seller side standards and analyses do not provide an adequate framework for responding to the problems that buyer power can create. Based on evidence that abuse of buyer power is a serious problem for the competitive process, the book evaluates the potential for competition law to deal directly with the problems of abuse either through conventional competition law or special rules aimed at abusive conduct. The author also examines controls over buying groups and mergers as potentially more useful responses to risks created by undue buyer power.
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A Global Issue

Peter C. Carstensen

Many people have contributed to the work on this book. None of them should be regarded as responsible for any of its defects, but they can jointly and severally take credit for any virtues the reader may find.

First and foremost are my research assistants. They were Jose Castro, Eric Eisenheim, Christopher Snyder and Elaine Xu. In addition, the editors of the Antitrust Bulletin, the William and Mary Business Law Review, and the University of Pennsylvania Business Law Review published articles that have provided important bases for this book. They all earned my appreciation for their diligent editorial contribution.

I had the privilege of presenting parts of this work at the Law and Society Association meeting in Honolulu in 2012 and at the Conference on Buyer Power in Competition Law sponsored by the University of Oxford Centre for Competition Law and Policy also that year. In addition, I have drawn on my presentation at the American Antitrust Institute’s symposium on buyer power held in Washington, DC in 2007. The comments and suggestions from those meetings were very helpful.

Several scholars, without in any way agreeing with my positions and analysis, have been generous enough of their time to read and comment on parts of this work. They were Fred Carstensen, Daniel Gifford, John Kirkwood and Kyle Steigert. In addition, I have benefitted greatly from conversations too numerous to catalogue with antitrust lawyers and scholars about the issues surrounding buyer power.

I have benefited from financial support from the University of Wisconsin Graduate School, the Food Systems Research Project, the Quarles & Brady Summer Research Fellowship of the University of Wisconsin Law School and the Law School’s own research fund. That support was most welcome and greatly facilitated the completion of this project.

Finally, but most importantly to the final version of this work, I have great debt to Amy Fine who provided extraordinary editorial advice and counsel to make this project as coherent as it is.