January 27, 2022
FTC’s Shifting View on Competition Policy And the Outlook for 2022
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), tasked with protecting consumers from unfair methods of competition, is making a dramatic shift in how it enforces its antitrust mandate. In a new insight, Director of Technology and Innovation Policy Jeffrey Westling examines the competition-focused actions taken by the FTC since Chairwoman Lina Khan began her tenure and considers the additional actions and implications likely to stem from these changes in 2022 and beyond.
- The FTC, and antitrust law generally, has for decades focused on the welfare of consumers, but the agency is fast adopting a different view which holds that market concentration itself is a problem that can lead to societal harms.
- By looking solely at the concentration of markets and size of individual firms, regulators risk ignoring the significant benefits for consumers that come with size and integration such as lower prices or increased functionality of devices and services.
- In 2022, the FTC will likely continue to focus on market concentration by bringing further claims under both the general antitrust laws and its specific authority to regulate unfair methods of competition, as well as exploring the bounds of its rulemaking authority to target market concentration.