PREDATORY PRICING:
STRATEGIC THEORY AND LEGAL POLICY


Patrick Bolton
Joseph F. Brodley
Michael H. Riordan

Boston University School of Law Working Paper 99-5

Abstract

This paper proposes a new legal rule on predatory pricing based on strategic analysis. The Supreme Court's decision in Brooke with its emphasis on closely analyzing the scheme of predation and recoupment calls for such an analysis. At the same time economic development over the last 20 years of a rigorous analysis of predatory pricing provides the tools required to achieve a more effective legal policy. Economics can now explain when predation can be rational, or in Brooke's terms when it can enable profitable recoupment, casting new light on earlier examples of predatory pricing. The further challenge for legal analysis is to develop workable legal rules to guide enforcement agency policy and judicial decisions. To accomplish this we propose a structured rule of reason, including a fully specified efficiencies defense. Under such an approach enforcement would focus on cases where market structure and conduct makes predation plausible and where anticompetitive effects have occurred, or are dangerously probable. Equally important, the finding of predation would be subject to an efficiencies justification where below-cost pricing is necessary to achieve significant efficiencies, including dynamic efficiencies.

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Joseph F. Brodley Contact Information

brodley@bu.edu
Boston University School of Law
765 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215
USA
(617) 353-2844

Presentation and Publication Information:

To be announced.

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