The Market, the Firm, and Behavioral Antitrust

Avishalom Tor, Notre Dame Law School


This chapter examines the main distinct concerns facing the application of empirical behavioral evidence to antitrust law and economics — also known as "behavioral antitrust." More than many (though not all) other legal fields, antitrust law is primarily concerned with the conduct of firms in markets rather than in individual behavior per se. Yet much of the empirical evidence that behavioral antitrust draws on concerns individual behavior outside the firm, often in non-market settings. Hence besides adducing additional, direct empirical evidence on behavioral phenomena within firms and markets, there is a need to determine when and how the behavioral evidence on human judgment and decision behavior more generally is informative for antitrust. To this end, the chapter considers the ways in which markets and firms shape behavior. Direct evidence and theoretical analysis both reveal these institutions variously to facilitate rationality and deviations from it. After illustrating the implications of the complex interaction among markets, firms, and the rationality of antitrust actors across different areas of the law and enforcement policy, the chapter concludes by sketching some important open questions and future research directions in behavioral antitrust.