Emory Law Journal

Looking at the Monopsony in the Mirror
Maurice E. Stucke *Associate Professor, University of Tennessee College of Law; Senior Fellow, American Antitrust Institute. I wish to thank for their helpful comments Adi Ayal, Peter Carstensen, Kenneth Davidson, Thomas Horton, John Kirkwood, Russell Pittman, Thomas Rosch, Robert Steiner, Henry Su, Spencer Weber Waller, and the participants of the “Buyer Power in Competition Law” symposium sponsored by the University of Oxford Centre for Competition Law & Policy. I also thank the University of Tennessee College of Law for the summer research grant.

Introduction

Although still a distant second to monopoly, buyer power and monopsony are hot topics in the competition community. 1Org. for Econ. Co-operation & Dev. [OECD], Monopsony and Buyer Power, at 255, OECD Doc. DAF/COMP(2008)38 (Dec. 17, 2009), available at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/38/63/44445750.pdf (“Buying power is an increasingly hot topic within the competition community.”). The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2Id. at 208. International Competition Network (ICN), 3Task Force for Abuse of Superior Bargaining Position, Int’l Competition Network, ICN Special Program for Kyoto Annual Conference: Report on Abuse of Superior Bargaining Position 3 (2008), available at http://www.jftc.go.jp/en/international_relations/icn/kyoto-materials/pdf/ASBP_1.pdf. and American Antitrust Institute (AAI) 4E.g., Am. Antitrust Inst., The Next Antitrust Agenda: The American Antitrust Institute’s Transition Report on Competition Policy to the 44th President 95 (Albert A. Foer ed., 2008) [hereinafter AAI Transition Report], available at http://www.antitrustinstitute.org/~antitrust/content/next-antitrust-agenda; Albert A. Foer, Introduction to Symposium on Buyer Power and Antitrust, 72 Antitrust L.J. 505, 505 (2005); Gregory T. Gundlach & Albert A. Foer, Buyer Power in Antitrust: An Overview of the American Antitrust Institute’s Invitational Symposium on Buyer Power, 53 Antitrust Bull. 233 (2008). have studied monopsony and buyer power recently. The U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission pay more attention to buyer power in their 2010 merger guidelines than they did in their earlier guidelines. 5See Peter C. Carstensen, Buyer Power and the Horizontal Merger Guidelines: Minor Progress on an Important Issue, 14 U. Pa. J. Bus. L. 775, 780 (2012). Compare DOJ & FTC, Horizontal Merger Guidelines § 0.1, at 3 (1992), available at http://www.ftc.gov/bc/docs/horizmer.shtm (noting in one short paragraph that “to assess potential monopsony concerns, the Agency will apply an analytical framework analogous to the framework of these Guidelines”), with DOJ & FTC, Horizontal Merger Guidelines §§ 8, 12 (2010) [hereinafter 2010 Merger Guidelines], available at www.justice.gov/atr/public/guidelines/hmg-2010.pdf (including an extended discussion of buyer power). With growing buyer concentration in commodities such as coffee, tea, and cocoa, and among retailers, buyer power is a human rights issue. 6Olivier De Schutter, Briefing Note 3, Addressing Concentration in Food Supply Chains: The Role of Competition Law in Tackling the Abuse of Buyer Power 1 (2010), available at http://www.srfood.org/index.php/en/documents-issued/briefing-notes; Aravind R. Ganesh, The Right to Food and Buyer Power, 11 German L.J. 1190, 1190 (2010); see also Liz Dodd & Samuel Asfaha, S. Ctr. & Traidcraft, Rebalancing the Supply Chain: Buyer Power, Commodities and Competition Policy 4 (2008), available at http://unctad.org/Sections/ditc_ccpb/docs/ditc_ccpb0009_en.pdf (expressing concern about the impact of buyer power on vulnerable food producers); Duncan Green, Oxfam, Conspiracy of Silence: Old and New Directions on Commodities (June 2005) (unpublished manuscript), available at http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/conspiracy-of-silence-old-and-new-directions-on-commodities-112554 (“Not only has corporate concentration diminished the slice of final retail value accruing to developing country producers, it has shifted the balance of power against small-scale farmers.”).

As this Article discusses, both monopolies and monopsonies have significant market power. A monopolist typically is characterized as the only or dominant seller in town. 7See, e.g., United States v. Grinnell Corp., 384 U.S. 563, 571 (1966) (defining monopoly power as “‘the power to control prices or exclude competition,’” which “ordinarily may be inferred from the predominant share of the [relevant] market” (quoting United States v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 351 U.S. 377, 391 (1956))). (Think of the only gasoline station along a long highway stretch, which despite its low costs charges outrageously high prices.) The monopolist can raise its price above competitive levels. The monopolist can also reduce, contrary to its customers’ wishes, the quality of its products and services, product variety, and innovation. A monopsonist, on the other hand, is typically characterized as the only or dominant buyer in town. 8Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Ross-Simmons Hardwood Lumber Co., 549 U.S. 312, 320 (2007) (“Monopsony power is market power on the buy side of the market. As such, a monopsony is to the buy side of the market what a monopoly is to the sell side and is sometimes colloquially called a ‘buyer’s monopoly.’” (citation omitted)). (Think of the factory in the one-factory town where you either work on the company’s terms or you are on your own.) The monopsonist can lower the price below competitive levels for the goods and services it buys. 9Oxera, Buyer Power in a Regulatory Context: Myth or Reality? 1–2 (2012), available at http://www.oxera.com/Publications/Agenda/2012/Buyer-power-in-a-regulatory-context—myth-or-reali.aspx. The monopsonist can also reduce the quality of products it purchases and the amount of innovation that an otherwise competitive market would foster. 10W. Penn Allegheny Health Sys., Inc. v. UPMC, 627 F.3d 85, 104 (3d Cir. 2010) (noting that monopsony in depressing reimbursement rates “tends to diminish the quality and availability of hospital services”); accord Warren S. Grimes, The Sherman Act’s Unintended Bias Against Lilliputians: Small Players’ Collective Action as a Counter to Relational Market Power, 69 Antitrust L.J. 195, 210 (2001) (“The very nature of monopsony or oligopsony power is that it tends to suppress output and reduce quality or choice.”). As one state supreme court recently commented:

The antitrust laws are as concerned about abuse of monopsony power to pay prices below a competitive level as they are about abuse of monopoly power to charge prices above a competitive level. The seller to the monopsony has been harmed as much as the buyer from the monopoly. 11Mueller v. Wellmark, Inc., 818 N.W.2d 244, 265 (Iowa 2012).

Monopsony and buyer-power claims are likely to arise in several important industries, including agriculture, 12See, e.g., Allen v. Dairy Farmers of Am., Inc., 748 F. Supp. 2d 323, 331 (D. Vt. 2010) (describing plaintiffs’ allegation of defendants’ “unlawful creation of monopsony and monopoly power in the milk distribution system by tying up access to milk bottling plants in the Northeastern United States through unlawful exclusive supply agreements and then using that monopsony power to force independent farmers to join DFA or to market their raw milk through its marketing affiliate”); Crisis on the Farm: The State of Competition and Prospects for Sustainability in the Northeast Dairy Industry: Hearing Before the S. Comm. on the Judiciary, 111th Cong. 7 (2009) (statement of Christine Varney, Assistant Att’y Gen. for Antitrust, Department of Justice) (noting the concern among dairy producers over monopsony power, how “[p]arts of the dairy industry have experienced extensive consolidation in recent years, with fewer processors and, therefore, fewer buyers of dairy products,” and how as “a result of consolidation, the potential for an exercise of buyer power is increased”). health insurance, 13See, e.g., W. Penn Allegheny Health Sys., Inc., 627 F.3d at 103–04 (describing hospital system’s suit against area’s dominant hospital system and dominant health insurer under Sherman Act and state law, and alleging that insurer had “substantial monopsony power” with medical providers having very few alternative purchasers for their services). and retail. 14OECD, supra note 1, at 20, 62, 69–71, 175, 222, 255, 261–62; DOJ, Competition and Agriculture: Voices from the Workshops on Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement in Our 21st Century Economy and Thoughts on the Way Forward 7 (2012), available at www.justice.gov/atr/public/reports/283291.pdf (describing the concern by some participants that “retailers are extracting a greater and greater share of the consumer food dollar, leaving producers with an ever decreasing share, and at the same time imposing price increases on consumers”). A trend toward monopsony on the retail level can spur concentration on the wholesale level. Carstensen, supra note 5, at 789; Timothy A. Wise & Sarah E. Trist, Buyer Power in U.S. Hog Markets: A Critical Review of the Literature 19 (Global Dev. & Env’t Inst., Working Paper No. 10-04, 2010), available at http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/Pubs/wp/10-04HogBuyerPower.pdf. Recently, for example, the DOJ and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) examined buyer power in the seed, hog, livestock, poultry, and dairy industries. 15Division Update Spring 2011, U.S. Department Just., http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/division-update/2011/ag-workshops.html (last visited July 1, 2013). The DOJ and USDA deserve credit for setting up their workshops. Professor Peter Carstensen, among others, expressed relief:

For years many of us who follow agricultural competition issues have lamented the failure of both antitrust enforcement and market facilitating regulation to deal with continuing problems that farmers and ranchers confront in both the acquisition of inputs and the marketing of their production. 16Peter C. Carstensen, Comments for the United States Departments of Agriculture and Justice Workshops on Competition Issues in Agriculture 1–2 (Univ. of Wis. Law Sch., Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1103, 2010), available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1537191.

Over 4,000 people attended the public workshops in Iowa, Alabama, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Washington, D.C. 17Division Update Spring 2011, supra note 15. The DOJ received over 18,000 public comments. 18Id. Participants complained that the lack of antitrust enforcement enabled “a severely concentrated marketplace in which power and profit are limited to a few at the expense of countless, hard working family farmers” and that “high input prices, low commodity prices, or other hardships, hav[e] invested particular suppliers or buyers with greater market power.” 19DOJ, supra note 14, at 5 (internal quotation marks omitted); see also AAI Transition Report, supra note 4, at 308 (describing antitrust enforcement in the agricultural markets as “lamentable”). Many, the DOJ observed, “specifically raised the issue of monopsony power,” and some expressed concern that the enforcers, courts, and competition laws were “inattentive to the monopsony problem.” 20DOJ, supra note 14, at 8, 16 (recognizing “that, historically, farmers and others have voiced concern about the level of merger enforcement in the agricultural sector” and that as “a result of the workshops, the Division has redoubled its efforts to prevent anticompetitive agricultural mergers and conduct” so that “[t]he workshops have enhanced the Division’s efforts to enforce the antitrust laws”). Participants complained how processors “depress[ed] the prices of crops or animals below competitive levels.” 21Id. Others raised social and moral concerns, such as the environmental toll from monopsonies. 22See id. at 8 (“[I]t’s the monopsony power of these concentrated purchases of farm goods that are stressing the people and the natural systems that are producing food . . . .” (internal quotation marks omitted)). The U.S. livestock industry, observed several states, is more concentrated today than in 1921, when Congress enacted the Packers and Stockyards Act to respond to a market the “Big Five” packers controlled “and to ensure fair competition and fair trade practices in the marketing of livestock, meat and poultry.” 23Steve Bullock et al., Comments Regarding Competition in the Agriculture Industry, U.S. Department Just. 6 (Mar. 11, 2010), (providing comments from the attorneys general of various states). One account of the hearings stated, “What applies across the board—in cattle ranching and dairy and hog farming—is the stark and growing imbalance of power between the farmers who grow our food and the companies who process it for us, and how this imbalance enables practices unimaginable in any competitive market.” 24Lina Khan, Obama’s Game of Chicken, Wash. Monthly, Nov./Dec. 2012, at 32, 35–36.

Despite these concerns, the larger jurisdictions, to date, have challenged few mergers or conduct cases that target monopsony or buyer power. 25FTC, Horizontal Merger Investigation Data: Fiscal Years 1996–2011, at 7 tbl.1 (2013) (showing that of the 464 horizontal mergers where the FTC issued a second request, nine mergers focused on monopsony and buyer power issues); Peter C. Carstensen, Buyer Power, Competition Policy, and Antitrust: The Competitive Effects of Discrimination Among Suppliers, 53 Antitrust Bull. 271, 272 (2008) (observing how “the merger enforcement decisions by the courts and agencies have failed to appreciate the buyer power issues presented in some merger cases”). The DOJ and USDA workshops ended with a whimper. 26David Andrews, Antitrust Efforts Have Gone in Dustbin of History, Nat’l Catholic Rep. (Kansas City), Mar. 2, 2012, at 23; Khan, supra note 24, at 38 (“Worse, the administration’s silent retreat amounts to a form of moral failure. Having amply documented the outrageous abuse of fellow citizens, it decided it was not worth expending more political capital to right this wrong.”). And one recent DOJ monopsony case yielded an unusually weak behavioral remedy. 27In challenging an acquisition, the United States originally asked the court to divest assets sufficient to restore competition in the affected chicken processing market and to enjoin the defendant from further ownership and operation of the assets acquired as part of the transaction. Complaint at 13, United States v. George’s Foods, LLC, No. 5:11-cv-00043 (W.D. Va. May 10, 2011), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/georgefood.html. But the DOJ later settled for a behavioral remedy, namely requiring the defendant to make several capital improvements to its Harrisonburg chicken processing plant. The defendant had to (i) install an individually frozen freezer, (ii) install “a whole leg or thigh deboning line with the capacity to debone a minimum of fifty legs per minute or new automated lines with similar capacities,” and (iii) repair the processing plant’s roof. Competitive Impact Statement at 7–8, United States v. George’s Foods, LLC, No. 5:11-cv-00043 (W.D. Va. June 23, 2011), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/georgefood.html. The settlement, the DOJ asserted, was in the public interest; it significantly increased the number of chickens that George’s would process, thereby increasing the demand for grower services and averting the likely anticompetitive effects arising from the acquisition. Response of Plaintiff United States to Public Comment on the Proposed Final Judgment at 4–5, United States v. George’s Foods, LLC, No. 5:11-cv-00043 (W.D. Va. Oct. 25, 2011), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/georgefood.html. Carstensen and a former FTC official objected to both the remedy’s scope and duration. They argued that among other things the consent decree should require the DOJ to reassess the transaction’s competitive effects in three to five years and, if necessary, revise the remedy. Id. at 6–7. The DOJ rejected their concerns, expressing “confiden[ce] that the effectiveness of the proposed Final Judgment obviates the need for requiring undefined ‘additional remedies.’” Id. at 7–8.

Nonetheless, the DOJ under the Obama administration promised “[v]igorous antitrust enforcement” after “redoubl[ing] its already active enforcement activities.” 28DOJ, supra note 14, at 23. The DOJ, said one official, “is concerned about monopsony harm and is willing to go to court to prevent such harm.” 29Sharis A. Pozen, Acting Assistant Attorney Gen., U.S. Dep’t of Justice Antitrust Div., Developments at the Antitrust Division & the 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines—One Year Later 24 (Nov. 17, 2011), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/speeches/277488.pdf. In Europe, monopsony power is also a significant issue, especially where a few supermarkets dominate the industry. 30See, e.g., Commission Green Paper on Unfair Trading Practices in the Business-to-Business Food and Non-Food Supply Chain in Europe, at 3–5, COM (2013) 37 final (Jan. 31, 2013) [hereinafter EC Green Paper on Unfair Trading Practices]; Tom Björkroth et al., Finnish Competition Auth., Study on Trade in Groceries: How Does Buyer Power Affect the Relations Between the Trade and Industry? 8 (Jaana Aho trans., 2012); OECD, supra note 1, at 20, 62, 69–71, 175, 222, 255, 261. Consequently, the monopsony problem is not simply an academic exercise.

If prosecutions of monopsonies increase, one challenge, given the infrequent prosecutions, is that the legal standards for monopsony claims are less developed than for monopoly claims. In recent years, courts, competition agencies, and scholars began their analysis with a simple premise: Monopsony is the mirror image of monopoly. 31Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Ross-Simmons Hardwood Lumber Co., 549 U.S. 312, 321–22 (2007); Todd v. Exxon Corp., 275 F.3d 191, 202 (2d Cir. 2001) (noting that because “the equation for measuring market power in monopsony is a mirror image of the relationships that create market power in a seller[,] . . . [a] greater availability of substitute buyers indicates a smaller quantum of market power on the part of the buyers in question” (citation omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted)); GMA Cover Corp. v. Saab Barracuda LLC, No. 4:10-CV-12060, 2012 WL 642739, at *6 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 8, 2012), adopted by No. 10-CV-12060, 2012 WL 639528 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 28, 2012); Sprint Nextel Corp. v. AT&T Inc., 821 F. Supp. 2d 308, 324 (D.D.C. 2011); In re Se. Milk Antitrust Litig., 801 F. Supp. 2d 705, 724 (E.D. Tenn. 2011); Addamax Corp. v. Open Software Found., Inc., 888 F. Supp. 274, 280 n.9 (D. Mass. 1995); FTC & DOJ, Improving Health Care: A Dose of Competition ch. 6, at 13 (2004) [hereinafter Health Report]; OECD, supra note 1, at 245; Marius Schwartz, Econ. Dir. of Enforcement, U.S. Dep’t of Justice Antitrust Div., Buyer Power Concerns and the Aetna-Prudential Merger (Oct. 20, 1999), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/speeches/3924.pdf (“The textbook case of monopsony is the mirror image of monopoly.”); see also OECD, supra note 1, at 256; Dennis W. Carlton & Mark Israel, Proper Treatment of Buyer Power in Merger Review, 39 Rev. Indus. Org. 127, 128 (2011); Roger G. Noll, “Buyer Power” and Economic Policy, 72 Antitrust L.J. 589, 589 (2005). But see Carstensen, supra note 25, at 273 (noting that the mantra that buyer power is the mirror image of seller power obscures the need for differentiating market power in buyer and seller situations). In the leading monopsony case, Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Ross-Simmons Hardwood Lumber Co., the Supreme Court’s initial premise was that monopoly and monopsony power were economically similar and shared a close theoretical connection. 32549 U.S. at 321–22. Given the “kinship” between monopoly and monopsony power, the Court suggested “that similar legal standards should apply” to monopolization and monopsonization claims. 33Id. (“‘[A]symmetric treatment of monopoly and monopsony has no basis in economic analysis’” (alteration in original) (quoting Noll, supra note 31, at 591)). The Court noted the “strikingly similar allegations” involving predatory pricing and predatory bidding. Id. Given the “general theoretical similarities of monopoly and monopsony combined with the theoretical and practical similarities of predatory pricing and predatory bidding,” the Court applied its two-pronged predatory-pricing test to predatory-bidding claims. Id. at 325. Nonetheless, the Court erred. See Roger D. Blair & Jeffrey L. Harrison, Monopsony in Law and Economics 77–78 (2010) (describing how predatory buyer can purchase other significant inputs at a competitive price so that its output price is above total cost). But, as this Article argues, developing the legal standards for evaluating monopsonization claims will be more complex than simply mirroring the monopolization standards.

First, monopsonies, as Part I describes, can impose significant economic, social, and moral harms. Thus, courts do not want to needlessly immunize monopsonies’ anticompetitive behavior. Part II discusses the first significant risk in assuming monopsonies to be the mirror image of monopolies: The agencies and courts may require the same market-share thresholds for both monopsonization and monopolization claims. A plaintiff challenging a monopsony (or monopoly) under § 2 of the Sherman Act 3415 U.S.C. § 2 (2006). must first show that the defendant possesses monopsony (or monopoly) power. Thus, if a 50% market share is insufficient for monopolization claims, agencies and courts may similarly conclude that a 50% market share is insufficient for monopsonization claims. Requiring high market-share thresholds for monopsony claims increases the risk of false negatives, chills enforcement, protects monopsony abuses, and enables mergers to monopsony.

Part III examines a second significant risk in assuming a monopsony to be the mirror image of monopoly: The agencies and courts will require consumer harm as a threshold screen for monopsony claims. Among the principles the D.C. Circuit observed from “a century of case law on monopolization under § 2” is that a monopolist’s act must “harm the competitive process and thereby harm consumers.” 35United States v. Microsoft Corp., 253 F.3d 34, 58 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (en banc) (per curiam). Although the courts, over the past thirty years, have called the Sherman Act a “‘consumer welfare prescription,’” 36See, e.g., NCAA v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. of Okla., 468 U.S. 85, 107 (1984) (stating that “Congress designed the Sherman Act as a consumer welfare prescription” (quoting Reiter v. Sonotone Corp., 442 U.S. 330, 343 (1979)) (internal quotation marks omitted)). The Court in Reiter quoted Robert Bork, The Antitrust Paradox 66 (1978). 442 U.S. at 343. The problem is that Bork’s consumer welfare is concerned more with total welfare than consumers’ welfare. See Barak Y. Orbach, The Antitrust Consumer Welfare Paradox, 7 J. Competition L. & Econ. 133, 134 (2011) (observing that “academic confusion and thoughtless judicial borrowing led to the rise of a label [consumer welfare] that 30 years later has no clear meaning”); Steven C. Salop, Question: What Is the Real and Proper Antitrust Welfare Standard? Answer: The True Consumer Welfare Standard, 22 Loy. Consumer L. Rev. 336, 347 (2010) (noting the confusion over meaning of “aggregate” and “consumer” welfare standards); J. Thomas Rosch, Comm’r, FTC, The Next Challenges for Antitrust Economists 18 (July 8, 2010), available at http://www.ftc.gov/speeches/rosch/100708neraspeech.pdf (noting that many different ideas exist as to how to promote consumer welfare). Part III discusses why a consumer welfare screen, contrary to its aim, increases, rather than decreases, the risks and costs of false negatives. It also promotes greater subjectivity and reduces predictability and transparency. The deficiencies of a consumer welfare screen are compounded when one shifts from the neoclassical economic theory’s assumption of economic self-interest to the more realistic economic findings of consumers’ other-regarding behavior and concerns over fairness.

Consequently, as this Article argues, courts and agencies cannot solely rely on market-share thresholds because firms can exercise monopsony power at relatively lower market shares. This Article, consistent with the DOJ’s enforcement actions, provides courts with a sliding scale that they can use to assess whether a firm possesses monopsony power. Nor should the agencies and courts add a superfluous consumer welfare screen. Instead, plaintiffs should prevail after showing that the buyer willfully attained or maintained its monopsony with exclusionary or predatory conduct, even when the ultimate consumer is unaffected.

I. Monopsony & Buyer Power

A. Monopsony

Monopsony often is characterized as the mirror image of monopoly. 37See supra note 31 and accompanying text. The monopsonist purchases fewer widgets than buyers otherwise would purchase in a competitive market. As a result, the monopsonist forces down the price of the sellers’ widgets. 38OECD, supra note 1, at 255–56; Zhiqi Chen, Defining Buyer Power, 53 Antitrust Bull. 241, 243 (2008) (“The defining characteristic of monopsony power . . . is the depression of quantity purchased by a buyer.”); Steven C. Salop, Anticompetitive Overbuying by Power Buyers, 72 Antitrust L.J. 669, 672 (2005). The monopolist, in contrast, normally reduces its output below competitive levels to raise its service’s or product’s price above competitive levels. Glossary of Terms Used in EU Competition Policy, at 32 (July 2002) [hereinafter EC Glossary], available at (defining “monopoly”). The sellers have little, if any, market power. 39OECD, supra note 1, at 256; Chen, supra note 38, at 242. The price can be competitive but provide economic rent on the supply side of the market. As Noll points out, the company has little incentive to become a monopolist if there is no consumer surplus to capture. Noll, supra note 31, at 592. “Likewise, rent is present in a market if, in the aggregate, suppliers of the product receive more revenues than are necessary to induce them to provide the quantity of goods that is sold.” Id. That is certainly true. The monopsonist (like the monopolist) appropriates wealth from the seller (customer) to itself. The more surplus to be had, the greater the potential profits. They decide how many widgets to sell at the per-unit price. 40Noll, supra note 31, at 594. The monopsonist pays a single price per unit; it pays the same price for the first and last widget it purchases that year. See Carlton & Israel, supra note 31, at 129. The widget industry’s aggregate supply curve is upward sloping, in that sellers will produce more widgets if offered a higher price to cover the increase in their marginal cost. 41OECD, supra note 1, at 256; Chen, supra note 38, at 243. The monopsonist profits more by buying fewer widgets at the lower price per unit and selling less of its final product than in buying more widgets, albeit at a higher price, and selling more output.

B. Buyer Power

Buyer power has different definitions. 42Chen, supra note 38, at 241; Noll, supra note 31, at 589 (noting that the term is “rarely precisely defined”). One definition is the “[a]bility of one or more buyers, based on their economic importance on the market in question, to obtain favourable purchasing terms from their suppliers.” 43EC Glossary, supra note 38, at 7. Buyer power is about superior bargaining position and terms relative to rivals and the competitive norm. 44OECD, supra note 1, at 201 (offering the definition of “buyer power” in Korea); id. at 246 (noting the definition of “buyer power” in the United States is “the ability of a buyer to negotiate a favourable price that is nevertheless above the competitive level” (emphasis added)); id. at 256 (noting the definition of “buyer power” in the European Commission guidelines is “where a purchasing agreement accounts for a sufficiently large proportion of total volume of a purchasing market so that prices can be driven down below the competitive level” (emphasis added) (internal quotation marks omitted)). This can occur when a purchaser obtains a lower net price or better terms compared to its rivals. The terms buyer power and countervailing power are used favorably, such as when “powerful buyers may discipline the pricing policy of powerful sellers, thus creating a ‘balance of powers’ on the market concerned.” 45EC Glossary, supra note 38, at 7; see also Guidelines on the Assessment of Horizontal Mergers Under the Council Regulation on the Control of Concentrations Between Undertakings, 2004 O.J. (C 31) 6, 12 [hereinafter EC Horizontal Merger Guidelines]; International Competition Network, Unilateral Conduct Workbook Chapter 3: Assessment of Dominance 33–37 (2011) (discussing both the possibilities and limitations of countervailing customer buyer power). Mergers among buyers can yield efficiencies and lower input prices without increasing buyer power. See 2010 Merger Guidelines, supra note 5, § 12 (noting that mergers between buyers may not “enhance market power on the buying side of the market [but] can nevertheless lead to a reduction in prices paid by the merged firm, for example, by reducing transactions costs or allowing the merged firm to take advantage of volume-based discounts”). Alternatively, powerful buyers can constrain sellers from exercising market power. Id. § 8 (noting that merging parties’ ability to exercise market power is constrained “if powerful buyers have the ability and incentive to vertically integrate upstream or sponsor entry, or if the conduct or presence of large buyers undermines coordinated effects”); Michael E. Porter, The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy, Harv. Bus. Rev., Jan. 2008, at 78, 84 (observing that powerful buyers “can credibly threaten to integrate backward and produce the industry’s product themselves if vendors are too profitable”).

This Article focuses on the dark side of buyer power: “Where a strong buyer faces weak sellers, for example, the outcome can be worse than where the buyer is not powerful.” 46EC Glossary, supra note 38, at 7–8. The buyers, in offering contracts on a “take-it-or-leave-it” basis, 47Lynn A. Hayes, Farmers’ Legal Action Grp., Inc., Issues in Litigation on Behalf of Poultry and Livestock Producers Under the Packers and Stockyards Act as Amended by the 2008 Farm Bill 1–2 (Sept. 25–26, 2009), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/workshops/ag2010/001/AGW-00067-h.pdf. depress below the competitive level the prices they pay, as in the case of “the cattle, hog, or poultry farmer who faces the buying power of the relatively few processors of agricultural commodities.” 48Carstensen, supra note 25, at 277.

C. Traditional Economic Concerns of Monopsony and Buyer Power

Under the textbook economic definition, the monopsonist, in depressing the price of widgets, transfers wealth from the widget suppliers to itself. The monopsonist will not pass along the lower input price to its downstream consumers. 49Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 47; De Schutter, supra note 6, at 2; John B. Kirkwood, Powerful Buyers and Merger Enforcement, 92 B.U. L. Rev. 1485, 1498 (2012). Moreover, because fewer widgets are produced and sold, society suffers a deadweight welfare loss. 50See Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 43–45; Health Report, supra note 31, ch. 6, at 13–14 (“When a monopsonist reduces purchases of inputs to reduce input prices, society foregoes the production of output whose value to consumers exceeds the resource costs of associated inputs, thereby creating a welfare loss to society.”).

Problems arise once one deviates from the textbook definition. In illustrating when buyer power “may be beneficial for competition,” the European Commission stated that when the powerful buyer “lowers input costs without restricting downstream competition or total output, then a proportion of these cost reductions are likely to be passed onto consumers in the form of lower prices.” 51EC Horizontal Merger Guidelines, supra note 45, at 11. This is not always true. Contrary to the Commission’s generalization, consumers or society do not necessarily benefit when powerful buyers lower their input costs without restricting downstream competition or total output. As the U.S. competition agencies recognize, significant buyer power, even to the point of monopsony, does not always lead to less output of the sellers’ or monopsonist’s goods. 52See 2010 Merger Guidelines, supra note 5, § 12, at 32–33 (“The Agencies do not view a short-run reduction in the quantity purchased as the only, or best, indicator of whether a merger enhances buyer market power.”); see also Carstensen, supra note 5, at 780 (“[T]he fact that output may remain unchanged is also not necessarily a basis to conclude that the merger has no adverse effect on competition.”). Consumers do not necessarily benefit with lower prices when a powerful buyer depresses the sellers’ price without affecting total output. This can be important when evaluating competitive effects.

First, the supply curve of the sellers’ widgets may be inelastic. The beef industry, for example, has a “very inelastic supply over any intermediate time period given the long time it takes to bring a calf to slaughter weight.” 53AAI Transition Report, supra note 4, at 296 (noting the beef industry’s concentration); see In re Beef Indus. Antitrust Litig., 600 F.2d 1148, 1154 (5th Cir. 1979). Supply can be inelastic in the short term in other agricultural industries. See Allen v. Dairy Farmers of Am., Inc., No. 5:09-CV-230, 2012 WL 5844871, at *4 (D. Vt. Nov. 19, 2012) (alleging that “milk is a fungible product for which the supply is inelastic meaning that it responds slowly and insubstantially to fluctuations in price”); see also Wise & Trist, supra note 14, at 8 (“[Hog] [f]armers are particularly vulnerable to buyer power because many are selling perishable goods (e.g. live animals) or products that would require large storage capacity (e.g. several tons of corn). For hog farmers, this can be particularly problematic because they operate on very tight margins, rely on selling their animals at optimum weight, and need to bring in the next litter on a fixed schedule.”). Here buyer power depresses the farmers’ price for their cattle but not the total amount of cattle. So, unlike the textbook monopsony, society does not bear a deadweight loss. 54Glossary of Statistical Terms, OECD, http://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=3187 (last updated Aug. 12, 2002) (defining deadweight welfare loss as “a measure of the dollar value of consumers’ surplus lost (but not transferred to producers) as a consequence of a price increase”). There is, however, a wealth transfer from the farmers to the powerful buyers, and consumers do not necessarily benefit from the exercise of buyer power. 55See Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 50; see also OECD, supra note 1, at 141 & nn.1–2 (discussing that buyer power “results in a decrease in the overall quantity of the input produced or supplied in a relevant market” except “where the supply curve is perfectly inelastic such that a price decrease below competitive levels does not result in a decrease in output but only a transfer” or where output deteriorates not in quantity “but rather in terms of quality”). Thus, the Canadian competition authority concluded that “[c]ases where the supply curve is perfectly inelastic, such that a price decrease below competitive levels does not result in a decrease in output but only a wealth transfer, may also give rise to concerns.” 56Competition Bureau Can., Merger Enforcement Guidelines 32 n.47 (2011), available at http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/vwapj/cb-meg-2011-e.pdf/$FILE/cb-meg-2011-e.pdf.

Second, a monopsonist, like a monopolist, can price discriminate to get a non-cost-justified price decrease—namely paying each farmer only the minimum amount needed for that farmer to produce the product. 57Carstensen, supra note 5, at 784 (noting the greater difficulty “for a seller to engage in arbitrage in the ways that a buyer can” which can facilitate buyers’ price discrimination among sellers). As economist Roger Noll discusses, the monopsonist can target (i) more efficient suppliers and extract from them their incremental profits (Ricardian rents), 58See Noll, supra note 31, at 593. (ii) suppliers with lower short-run costs and extract from them their quasi-rents, 59See id. (describing quasi-rents as “the difference between a supplier’s total revenues and short-run total costs”). and (iii) any supra-competitive profits earned by the suppliers. 60See id. at 593–94, 603. Under these scenarios, the more efficient suppliers are punished. A fluid milk processing monopsony, for example, can demand a lower price from the more efficient dairy farmers who obtained through their investments more milk, at a lower cost, from better cows. The farmer is not rewarded for her efficiency. The monopsonist milk processor simply appropriates the efficient farmer’s extra profits for itself. Similarly, the monopsonist milk processor can squeeze the dairy farmers so that they do not earn in the short-term a competitive return on their milking equipment. 61See Hayes, supra note 47 (describing a similar problem that occurs in the poultry industry); see also Wise & Trist, supra note 14, at 12 (“Generally, the terms of the contract do not guarantee income for the useful life of the equipment needed to produce hogs. Producers may gain the security of a guaranteed buyer for the animals on their farms, but that security does not extend for the life of their investments, nor their debt obligations. This leaves producers under additional pressure to accept the contract terms dictated by the packer when it comes time to renew the contract. As one poultry producer testified, ‘When you have that kind of debt load over you, of course, you’re going to choose to sign the contract. You feel that there’s no other option when you owe . . . a half a million or a million dollars.’” (alteration in original) (citation omitted)). Eventually, when the equipment breaks down, the farms close. 62See Carstensen, supra note 5, at 807; Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1497.

Buyers can also price discriminate by using all-or-nothing contracts, whereby the farmer must commit to selling a specific volume at a specified price (that captures the above-described rents) or the monopsonist refuses to purchase anything. 63See White Mule Co. v. ATC Leasing Co., 540 F. Supp. 2d 869, 890 n.14 (N.D. Ohio 2008); OECD, supra note 1, at 246 (explaining how the monopsonist can price discriminate with all-or-nothing contracts); Carstensen, supra note 5, at 795, 807; Ganesh, supra note 6, at 1216–19. As White Mule explains:An all or nothing supply case allows a monopsony buyer to purchase the maximum quantity a supplier will make available at a particular price when the supplier’s alternative is to sell nothing. In such a situation, colluding buyers—or a buyer with an exclusivity agreement—could obtain a privately optimal quantity at the supplier’s lowest price point. This is to the buyer’s benefit because, in contrast to the classic monopsony model in which the monopsonist must reduce the quantity purchased to lower prices, a monopsonist “would prefer to pay the lower price without reducing the quantity purchased.”540 F. Supp. 2d at 890 n.14 (citations omitted).

Buyers also price discriminate by shifting costs and risk to suppliers. 64See Carstensen, supra note 5, at 798–99 (discussing how buyers can price discriminate by shifting risk to sellers); Letter from Timothy A. Wise, Dir., Tufts Univ. Global Dev. & Env’t Inst. Research & Policy Program, to Eric Holder, Attorney Gen., Dep’t of Justice, and Tom Vilsack, Sec’y, Dep’t of Agric. 8 (Aug. 23, 2010), available at http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/Pubs/wp/GDAECommentsDOJ-USDAAugust2010.pdf (“Buyer power can affect not only the price producers receive for their products but also the conditions under which they produce, the quality of the contracts they receive for production or marketing, and the distribution of risk between the buyer and the seller.”). For example, one court found that the contract terms of the largest poultry integrator in Oklahoma shifted many risks and costs to the growers, and could punish or reward farmers with the chicks it provided:

Prior to entering into a contract with a grower, OK requires the grower to first obtain financing and build chicken houses to specifications set by OK. In exchange for a grower’s expenditure of money to build the requisite chicken houses, OK signs a letter of intent, agreeing to enter into a broiler contract with the grower upon satisfactory completion of the chicken houses. One chicken house can cost a grower nearly $160,000, not including the cost of land and equipment.

All the broiler contracts are materially identical; they are standard contracts drafted by OK and are not subject to negotiation. Under the standard contract, a grower agrees to use only chicks, feed, and medicine supplied by OK. OK is not liable, however, for any loss a grower incurs as a result of OK’s failure to provide feed and supplies; nor is OK liable for birds condemned due to certain diseases. The contract also provides that a grower may not sell its chickens to poultry integrators other than OK and may not transfer its broiler contract to other potential growers without OK’s prior approval. Under the terms of the contract, OK agrees to provide the grower with only one flock of chicks, which typically takes a grower seven weeks to raise. Thereafter, OK may provide the grower with replacement flocks “from time to time.” In addition to deciding when to deliver replacement flocks, OK determines the breed of chicken, the number of chicks per flock, and the number of flocks. Furthermore, at the end of each growing cycle, OK may require that a grower update its houses to meet OK’s most recent specifications before it will place another flock of chicks with the grower. These required changes result in significant costs to growers. 65Been v. O.K. Indus., 495 F.3d 1217, 1222–23 (10th Cir. 2007) (footnote omitted). Another example is powerful retailers who require suppliers to stock the retailers’ shelves and take returns. See Catherine Nicholson & Bob Young, Consumers Int’l, The Relationship Between Supermarkets and Suppliers: What Are the Implications for Consumers? 6, 10 (2012), available at http://www.consumersinternational.org/media/1035301/consumer%20detriment%20briefing%20paper%20sept2012.pdf. On unfair practices that shift commercial risk from the retailer to the supplier, see generally EC Green Paper on Unfair Trading Practices, supra note 30, at 18–19; OECD, supra note 1, at 237; and Peter Freeman et al., U.K. Competition Comm’n, The Supply of Groceries in the UK Market Investigation 12 (2008), available at http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/assets/competitioncommission/docs/pdf/non-inquiry/rep_pub/reports/2008/fulltext/538, which found that “the principal manner in which excessive risks or unexpected costs could be transferred from grocery retailers to suppliers was through retailers making retrospective adjustments to the terms of supply” and also expressed concern that as a result of the transfer of risk “the retailer has less incentive to minimize that risk.”

In the above case, the broiler contracts were materially identical and not subject to negotiation. In other cases, powerful processors can discriminate further by varying the contract terms (with more onerous terms for farmers with fewer outside options) and by requiring farmers to keep these contract terms secret. 66See Wise & Trist, supra note 14, at 11 (“Strict confidentiality clauses in contracts prevent growers from sharing the terms and conditions of contracts with other producers. The packer, of course, knows the terms of all the contracts it is signing, leaving farmers at a disadvantage.” (citation omitted)).

A third concern is that a monopsony can hinder innovation and dynamic efficiency. Facing less income and increased uncertainty over future earnings, suppliers may have less incentive to innovate or invest in their equipment. 67See Dodd & Asfaha, supra note 6, at 12; Freeman et al., supra note 65, at 12 (finding that “the transfer of excessive risks or unexpected costs by grocery retailers to their suppliers is likely to lessen suppliers’ incentives to invest in new capacity, products and production processes” and “if unchecked, these practices would ultimately have a detrimental effect on consumers”); Nicholson & Young, supra note 65, at 13–14; Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1550. Quality and consumer choice can also deteriorate, 68W. Penn Allegheny Health Sys., Inc. v. UPMC, 627 F.3d 85, 104 (3d Cir. 2010) (noting that the payment of depressed reimbursement rates poses the risk of reduced quality); Ariel Ezrachi & Koen de Jong, Buyer Power, Private Labels and the Welfare Consequences of Quality Erosion, 5 Eur. Competition L. Rev. 257, 258 (2012) (discussing how buyer power may pressure sellers “to sell at near loss” and degrade quality “[s]ubject to the nature of the product and to the extent that reduction in quality cannot easily be detected by the final consumer”); Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1547, 1553 (describing how buyer power reduces consumer choice); Press Release, U.S. DOJ, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Physicians Health Plan of Mid-Michigan Abandon Merger Plans 1 (Mar. 8, 2010), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/press_releases/2010/256259.pdf (alleging that Blue Care Networks of Michigan’s plan to acquire Physicians Health Plan of Mid-Michigan “would have given Blue Cross-Michigan the ability to control physician reimbursement rates in a manner that could harm the quality of health care delivered to consumers”). especially when the buyer enjoys market power downstream. 69See Ganesh, supra note 6, at 1210 (stating that where the monopsonist is “also dominant in the downstream market, the welfare of end consumers will be adversely affected”); Porter, supra note 45, at 84 (“Intermediate customers gain significant bargaining power when they can influence the purchasing decisions of customers downstream. Consumer electronics retailers, jewelry retailers, and agricultural-equipment distributors are examples of distribution channels that exert a strong influence on end customers.”). With the concessions it obtains, a powerful buyer may seek the quiet life, with less incentive to innovate or become more efficient. 70See Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1551.

A fourth economic concern is the “commodity problem,” whereby buyer power depresses price by increasing, rather than decreasing, total output. Farmers—faced with buyer power and lower prices—increase the supply of agricultural commodities. 71Dodd & Asfaha, supra note 6, at 10. This is unusual. Neoclassical economic theory predicts that monopsony power leads to less output. 72OECD, supra note 1, at 9, 234. What appears to drive this behavioral anomaly is that each farmer seeks a target income; by producing more, the farmers collectively depress price further. One example is coffee. 73De Schutter, supra note 6, at 2; Nicolas Petit, Ethiopia’s Coffee Sector: A Bitter or Better Future?, 7 J. Agrarian Change 225, 251 (2007). Coffee growers in some countries have few alternatives. Coffee is best cultivated on hilly land in high altitudes, 74See Coffee from Around the World, Nat’l Coffee Ass’n USA, http://www.ncausa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=75 (last visited July 1, 2013); The Optimal Coffee Environment: Best Climate Conditions for Growing Coffee Beans, Coffeeresearch.org, http://www.coffeeresearch.org/agriculture/environment.htm (last visited July 1, 2013). which limits other alternative crops. 75See Ganesh, supra note 6, at 1196. In some countries, farmers can more readily produce other cash crops on the terrain, but the law forbids it. See Karol C. Boudreaux & Puja Ahluwalia, Cautiously Optimistic: Economic Liberalization and Reconciliation in Rwanda’s Coffee Sector, 37 Denv. J. Int’l L. & Pol’y 147, 152 (2009) (“[T]he government may have refused to modify the law because of coffee’s role as the major source of export revenue and a lack of readily available, viable substitutes.”). The development of alternatives is further inhibited by “limited access to markets for other commodities, the perennial nature of coffee plants (and the investment they represent), [and] strong cultural attachment to coffee or ‘adding-up’ problems (if different countries diversify into the same products).” 76Petit, supra note 73, at 252; see also Green, supra note 6 (noting barriers to diversification in countries dependent on a small number of agricultural commodities). Coffee growers may also face obstacles in vertically integrating downstream to process their coffee. 77See Green, supra note 6. In the coffee value chain, economic power has shifted from coffee growers to the trading houses (five of which account for 40% of green coffee imports), roasters (ten of which account for 60%–65% of processed coffee sales), and retailers. 78See Petit, supra note 73, at 230–31; see also Green, supra note 6 (noting how in the early 1990s coffee exporting countries earned about $10 to $12 billion in U.S. dollars, whereas retail coffee sales, mostly in large industrialized countries, were about $30 billion in U.S. dollars, and that by 2002, retail sales exceeded $70 billion in U.S. dollars, whereas coffee producing countries received only $5.5 billion in U.S. dollars). So while coffee importers, roasters, and retailers may compete for a share of the rents, they “combine to ensure that few of these [rents] accrue to producer countries.” 79Green, supra note 6. When coffee growers faced declining prices from concentrated buyers, they produced “even more coffee in an attempt to earn short-term income to meet daily expenses, and thereby cause[d] oversupply and further depression of coffee prices, even below the average cost of production.” 80See De Schutter, supra note 6, at 3; see also Dodd & Asfaha, supra note 6, at 10 (noting that commodity producers “continue to produce even when the market price is below their cost of production,” and attempt to “compensate for low prices by producing more, exacerbating oversupply”); Ganesh, supra note 6, at 1196 (stating that the lack of ready alternatives for coffee growers forces them to produce more when prices fall, even when the price falls below the cost of production). In 2002, coffee prices collapsed to a 100-year low, 81See Petit, supra note 73, at 225. and 8% more coffee was produced than consumed. 82See Charis Gresser & Sophia Tickell, Oxfam, Mugged: Poverty in Your Coffee Cup 2 (2002), available at http://www.oxfamamerica.org/files/mugged-full-report.pdf.

Some argue that the exercise of monopsony power “usually results in higher prices downstream.” 83OECD, supra note 1, at 9. This is clearly so when the monopsonist also monopolizes the output market. 84See id. at 246. The economic harm, for example, of the monopsonist milk processor that is also a monopolist is twofold. The monopsonist extracts wealth from the dairy farmers. It also extracts wealth from consumers by charging them higher prices for the fewer gallons of milk it sells. 85See Consol. Edison Co. of N.Y. v. FERC, 823 F.2d 630, 632 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (“During the Depression, the few pipelines that existed exerted double-edged control over the natural gas market. As both monopsonists and monopolists, the pipelines could buy and sell natural gas according to their own whims, with producers and consumers caught in the resultant squeeze, both as to price and supply.”); AAI Transition Report, supra note 4, at 283 (discussing how “consumers are paying higher and higher prices for food products because the bottlenecks in the process of moving food from the farm to the retail market have allowed processors and retailers to exploit both producers and consumers”); OECD, supra note 1, at 246; Noll, supra note 31, at 596 (“[T]he lower input price and higher output price raise the income of the monopsonist at the expense of sellers in the monopsonized market and consumers in the final goods market.”). This concern of simultaneous monopolistic and monopsonistic effects recently arose when the health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan sought to acquire its primary competitor, Physicians Health Plan of Mid-Michigan, and would thereby have controlled nearly 90% of the commercial health insurance market in the Lansing, Michigan area. 86See Press Release, U.S. DOJ, supra note 68, at 1. The acquisition, the DOJ said, would have harmed both consumers (“higher prices, fewer choices, and a reduction in the quality of commercial health insurance plans purchased by Lansing area residents and their employers”) and sellers (acquisition would give “Blue Cross-Michigan the ability to control physician reimbursement rates”). 87See id. The parties abandoned the merger after the DOJ threatened to sue. 88See id.

A related concern is that buyer power can lead to downstream market power and ultimately a monopsony/monopoly. 89See John B. Kirkwood, Buyer Power and Exclusionary Conduct: Should Brooke Group Set the Standards for Buyer-Induced Price Discrimination and Predatory Bidding?, 72 Antitrust L.J. 625, 648–49 (2005). A firm may exercise its buyer power to (i) reduce prices downstream, eliminating smaller competitors; 90See id.; see also Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1546–47. (ii) encourage sellers to raise their price charged to other, less powerful buyers (raising rivals’ costs); 91See Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1537–43 (explaining the principle of “raising rivals’ costs”). (iii) extract price cuts such that sellers charge higher prices to other, less powerful buyers (the waterbed effect); 92See Paul W. Dobson & Roman Inderst, The Waterbed Effect: Where Buying and Selling Power Come Together, 2008 Wis. L. Rev. 331, 333 (describing the “waterbed effect” where “better supply terms for powerful buyers . . . lead to a worsening of the terms of supply for smaller or otherwise-less-powerful buyers, which might then have an adverse consequence for consumers if downstream competition is lessened”). or (iv) otherwise foreclose its rivals. 93See EC Horizontal Merger Guidelines, supra note 45, at 11 (“Competition in the downstream markets could also be adversely affected if, in particular, the merged entity were likely to use its buyer power vis-à-vis its suppliers to foreclose its rivals.”).

Alternatively, consumers can pay higher prices even when the monopsonist lacks market power downstream. Suppose, for example, four monopsony milk processors supply the same broader geographic market, the greater New York region. Suppose each monopsonist produces less milk, as it buys less milk from the dairy farmers in its local market. With each monopsony following this strategy, barring entry by another milk processor, less milk will be delivered to supermarkets, cafeterias, and other buyers in the greater New York region, causing milk prices to rise.

The harder case is when buyer power directly harms the sellers but not the ultimate consumers. Suppose local farmers sell their veal calves to the local monopsony meat packer. After slaughtering the calves, and after processing and packaging the finished cuts of veal, the meat packer sells the veal cutlets nationwide. The local farmer has few options of where to sell its calves. The calves “have a very short time frame of a few weeks when they are market ready, so their optimum value quickly drops if they are not sold in a timely manner.” 94E-mail from Patrick Kilsdonk to ATR-Agricultural Workshops (Dec. 29, 2009, 9:07 AM), available at www.justice.gov/atr/public/workshops/ag2010/comments/255233.pdf; see also Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 81 (discussing inelasticity of supply for perishable goods); cf. Health Report, supra note 31, ch. 6, at 16 (“Seller switching costs for physicians can be significant because: (1) a physician’s time is perishable and (2) it can be difficult for a physician to quickly replace lost patients.”). Suppose then the relevant geographic market where the farmer can sell his calves is several hundred kilometers. 95Cf. Carstensen, supra note 25, at 278. Unlike the farmer’s limited geographic area where he can sell, the meat packer selling the selected cuts of veal and the retailers and institutions that buy the veal can turn to a broader geographic area (perhaps thousands of kilometers). 96See OECD, supra note 1, at 246. The meat packer enjoys a monopsony in buying calves from local farmers, but lacks market power in selling its packaged veal, since it competes with other meat packers across the United States. The monopsonist supplies fewer selected cuts of veal. But suppose that other meat packers sell more veal cutlets so that market output remains the same. This is a big assumption. 97As Jack Kirkwood reminded me:That assumes the other packers are as efficient as the monopsonist and have the excess capacity to make up the lost output at a marginal cost below the market price. That could happen, but it would not be common. It assumes that supply is perfectly elastic in this marketthat any increase in price will immediately provoke a compensating increase in supply.Memorandum from Jack Kirkwood to author (July 31, 2012) (on file with author). But if the same amount of veal is sold, are consumers who buy the veal cutlets harmed?

Perhaps. One potential inefficiency is if other veal calf farmers outside the monopsonized market replace the lost production at a higher cost. 98See Carlton & Israel, supra note 31, at 129 n.5; see also Noll, supra note 31, at 595–96. Other meat packers are increasing output with incremental input that is less efficiently procured. 99Cf. Carlton & Israel, supra note 31, at 129 n.5. Suppose, for example, farmers in other states with a less hospitable climatehigher temperatures and humiditystart raising more calves, albeit at a higher cost. 100See OECD, supra note 1, at 144 (observing “that an output decrease in response to monopsony power in one relevant upstream market that results in output increases in other relevant upstream markets is typically the result of inefficient substitution towards less efficient producers”). If consumer demand for veal is relatively inelastic, consumers are harmed when the higher costs from raising the calves are passed to them as higher retail prices. A second inefficiency is the opportunity cost of suppliers who now devote resources in competitive markets to produce more of the output (veal calves) when they could have profitably devoted their inputs (such as land) to other uses (such as raising chicken). 101See Noll, supra note 31, at 595. A third inefficiency is when the sellers (the veal calf farmers) in the monopsonized market are squeezed of their Ricardian rents and quasi-rents. 102See id. at 593 (discussing the effects of monopsony on Ricardian rents and quasi-rents). The farmers now have less money to purchase goods and services. In a competitive market, some veal calf farmers would have the profits to purchase a new novel, see a movie, and dine at a restaurant. In the monopsonized market, they forego these purchases, as their income barely covers basic expenses. 103Cf. Dan Fesperman & Kate Shatzkin, The Plucking of the American Chicken Farmer, Balt. Sun, Feb. 28, 1999, at 1A (“A new chicken farmer today can expect an annual net income of only $8,160about half the poverty level for a family of fouruntil he has paid off the 15-year loan he took to get into the business, and even that estimate may be overly optimistic. Fewer than half of Delmarva’s chicken farmers say they’re making enough to meet expenses.”). The wealthier monopsonist will not take up the slack by purchasing more copies of the same book. To the extent that consumers also produce these goods and services, they will be harmed.

But the downstream harm to consumers is less clear when the end product competes closely with other products or when “the monopsonist employs a different technology, using different inputs, than its output-market rivals.” 104OECD, supra note 1, at 246.

D. Other Economic, Social, and Moral Concerns About Monopsony

A competitive process is not a complete and self-sufficient end. Competition helps us achieve higher ends of human progress, namely, greater justice and well-being, better quality of life, and a more humane ordering of social relationships. 105Maurice E. Stucke, Should Competition Policy Promote Happiness?, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2575 (2013). Accordingly, competition and economic efficiency are subservient to, and can never supplant, the higher ends of human progress. The citizens’ dignity and well-being remain paramount. 106Maurice E. Stucke, Should the Government Prosecute Monopolies?, 2009 U. Ill. L. Rev. 497, 527–29 (discussing the ethical concerns of monopolies).

Although competition policy is generally not considered a human rights issue, courts have long recognized that concentrated economic power tends to impoverish individuals of their livelihood, and it threatens inclusive growth that enhances human and institutional capacity. 107See, e.g., Case of Monopolies, (1602) 77 Eng. Rep. 1260 (K.B.) 1263. Whereas the OECD characterized economic growth as “the most powerful engine for poverty reduction and development,” 108OECD, Framework for an OECD Strategy on Development 3 (2011). monopsonies and monopolies, as courts have long recognized, can thwart human development. 109Case of Monopolies, 77 Eng. Rep. at 1263. Workers, who earn a living for themselves and their families, “will of necessity be constrained to live in idleness and beggary.” 110Id.; see also Mitchel v. Reynolds, (1711) 24 Eng. Rep. 347 (Ch.) 350 (explaining that monopolies deprive the public of useful members). Monopsonies and monopolies “deprive the public of the services of men in the employments and capacities in which they may be most useful to the community as well as themselves.” 111United States v. Addyston Pipe & Steel Co., 85 F. 271, 280 (6th Cir. 1898) (quoting Alger v. Thacher, 36 Mass. (19 Pick.) 51, 54 (1837)), aff’d as modified, 175 U.S. 211 (1899).

Also of concern are the sellers’ loss of economic liberty and basic human rights, such as the right to food, work, and development. 112See Charles A. Ramsay Co. v. Associated Bill Posters, 260 U.S. 501, 512 (1923) (stating that competition laws “secure equality of opportunity and . . . protect the public against evils commonly incident to destruction of competition through monopolies and combinations in restraint of trade”); United States v. Aluminum Co. of Am., 148 F.2d 416, 427 (2d Cir. 1945) (stating that “[i]t is possible, because of its indirect social or moral effect, to prefer a system of small producers, each dependent for his success upon his own skill and character, to one in which the great mass of those engaged must accept the direction of a few”); De Schutter, supra note 6, at 4; Harlan M. Blake & William K. Jones, In Defense of Antitrust, 65 Colum. L. Rev. 377, 384 (1965) (observing that antitrust laws aimed “to expand the range of consumer choice and entrepreneurial opportunity by encouraging the formation of markets of numerous buyers and sellers, assuring ease of entry to such markets, and protecting participants—particularly small businessmen—against exclusionary practices”). The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa recently quoted Justice Douglas:Industrial power should be decentralized. It should be scattered into many hands so that the fortunes of the people will not be dependent on the whim or caprice, the political prejudices, the emotional stability of a few self-appointed men. The fact that they are not vicious men but respectable and social minded is irrelevant. That is the philosophy and the command of the Sherman Act.United States v. Vandebrake, 771 F. Supp. 2d 961, 1000–01 (N.D. Iowa 2011) (quoting United States v. Columbia Steel Co., 334 U.S. 495, 536 (1948) (Douglas, J., dissenting)), aff’d, 679 F.3d 1030 (8th Cir. 2012). Participants at the agricultural hearings, a senior DOJ official recounted, raised the “human costs of declining rural economies, including bankruptcies, foreclosures, and even suicides.” 113Christine A. Varney, Assistant Attorney Gen., U.S. Dep’t of Justice Antitrust Div., Joint DOJ and USDA Agriculture Workshops: Concluding Remarks (Dec. 8, 2010), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/speeches/264911.pdf. Workers facing financial distress and poverty can impose risk and costs on others. 114See Stephan J. Goetz & Hema Swaminathan, Wal-Mart and County-Wide Poverty 11–12 (AERS, Staff Paper No. 371, 2004), available at http://aers.psu.edu/research/centers/cecd/research/wal-mart-and-county-wide-poverty/full-study/view (suggesting that the Wal-Mart chain, through paying lower wages, creates costs to taxpayers in the form of greater local poverty than would occur absent local Wal-Mart stores). Buyer power can encourage a race to the bottom for wages, health benefits, working conditions, child labor, and schooling. 115See De Schutter, supra note 6, at 2 (noting how small-hold cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire resorted to child labor); see also Green, supra note 6 (“In some commodities such as bananas, palm oil and tea, NGOs claim that the downward pressure on prices has triggered a ‘race to the bottom’ in wages and working conditions on plantations, including casualisation of labour, the use of child labour, increased workloads, reduced benefits such as health provision, schooling and housing.”). One account of the coffee crisis concluded:

Families dependent on the money generated by coffee are pulling their children, especially girls, out of school. They can no longer afford basic medicines, and are cutting back on food. Beyond farming families, coffee traders are going out of business. National economies are suffering, and some banks are collapsing. Government funds are being squeezed dry, putting pressure on health and education and forcing governments further into debt. 116Gresser & Tickell, supra note 82, at 2.

So to the extent a jurisdiction treats human dignity as inviolable, its competition law cannot ignore the sellers’ welfare. Its law must foster a competitive process that promotes (or at least does not hinder) many market participants’ access to food, work, and a livable wage. 117See Ganesh, supra note 6, at 1229–30. A competition policy that ruins the environment, 118Monopsonies can promote the environment. If manufacturing widgets significantly degrades the environment, then the monopsonies, in demanding fewer widgets, can reduce the environmental toll. But monopsonies can also pose significant environmental risks that undermine sustainable development. Their downward pressure on the sellers’ price increases the risks of negative externalities. To reduce their costs, more farmers, for example, dispense waste without the necessary precautions. See De Schutter, supra note 6, at 2. Sustainability and environmental concerns of increased soil erosion, reduced biodiversity, deforestation, and water, soil, and air pollution arise. See Green, supra note 6 (manuscript at tbl.2); see also Petit, supra note 73, at 253 (describing environmental degradation in Ethiopia); Declaration of the European Parliament on Investigating and Remedying Abuse of Power by Large Supermarkets Operating in the European Union, Eur. Parliament (Feb. 19, 2008), http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?reference=P6_TA%282008%290054&language=EN (declaring that powerful retailers’ buyer power has “negative knock-on effects on both quality of employment and environmental protection”). increases inequality and poverty, and decreases many citizens’ well-being is hardly worth promoting. The ultimate policy aim, the OECD recently discussed, is “achieving sustainable economic growth, addressing inequality and poverty, and identifying pathways to social and economic well-being.” 119OECD, supra note 108, at 3 (emphasizing how “[n]ew sources of growth must be created to ensure a strong, jobs-rich and greener world economy”); see also Commission Report on Competition Policy 2010, at 7, 11, COM (2011) 328 final (Oct. 6, 2011) (“At the same time, competition policy has supported the main objectives of the Union as set out in the Treaties: a competitive market, economic, social and territorial cohesion and sustainable development.”).

II. Legal Implications of Monopsony Power

The economic, social, and moral concerns of monopsony and buyer power, which Part I discussed, can be attacked on different fronts. The country, for example, can (i) assign buyer-power problems in specific industries to a regulatory agency 120OECD, supra note 1, at 10. The U.K. Competition Commission, for example, has twice investigated the grocery market. Antony Seely, Supermarkets: Competition Inquiries into the Groceries Market 1 (2012), available at . Its first inquiry, completed in 2000, resulted in a “Code of Practice” to regulate the relationship between the largest supermarkets and their suppliers. Id. “However, the [Office of Fair Trading] received many complaints that the Code was not preventing supermarkets exploiting some of their suppliers, and putting many small shops out of business.” Id. In 2008:[T]he Commission completed its inquiry, concluding that in many respects UK grocery retailers were “delivering a good deal for consumers” but that action was “needed to improve competition in local markets and to address relationships between retailers and their suppliers,” including a strengthened and revised Code of Practice, to be enforced by an independent ombudsman.Id. and (ii) design laws, as in Japan and Korea, that specifically address common complaints about powerful buyers in particular sectors. 121OECD, supra note 1, at 192–96, 203–04 (describing Japan’s Antimonopoly Act and Korea’s Fair Subcontract Transaction Act). The Chairman of the Japan Fair Trade Commission “emphasized the importance of fairness . . . . [and] indicated his view that competition law should protect the rights of the players on a level playing field as well as consumers.” Id. at 191. The country’s laws address common complaints by specifically prohibiting powerful retailers from engaging in acts such as the unjust return of goods, unjust price reductions (after purchasing the product), and unjust assignment of work to employees of suppliers. Id. at 194–95. Similarly, the primary purpose of the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, 7 U.S.C. §§ 181–229 (2012), was “to assure fair competition and fair trade practices in livestock marketing and in the meatpacking industry.” Schumacher v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., 434 F. Supp. 2d 748, 751 (D.S.D. 2006) (quoting H.R. Rep. No. 85-1048 (1957)) (internal quotation marks omitted). On the competition law front, plaintiffs can enjoin mergers that tend to create a monopsony or significantly increase the anticompetitive risks from buyer power. 122Sprint Nextel Corp. v. AT&T Inc., 821 F. Supp. 2d 308, 327 (D.D.C. 2011); United States v. Aetna, Inc., No. 3-99 CV 1398-H, 1999 WL 1419046, at *15 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 7, 1999) (“Aetna’s acquisition of Prudential will also consolidate its purchasing power over physicians’ services in Houston and Dallas, enabling the merged entity to unduly reduce the rates paid for those services.”); Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1513. They can prosecute group boycotts and collusion among buyers. 123See, e.g., Klor’s, Inc. v. Broadway-Hale Stores, Inc., 359 U.S. 207, 209 (1959) (discussing a retailer using “its ‘monopolistic’ buying power to bring about” an illegal group boycott); Sony Elecs., Inc. v. Soundview Techs., Inc., 157 F. Supp. 2d 180, 187–88 (D. Conn. 2001); Gould v. Control Laser Corp., 462 F. Supp. 685, 691–92 (M.D. Fla. 1978) (declining to dismiss complaint alleging concerted refusal to buy; observing that an agreement not to take a license except under terms agreed by the group “unquestionably restrained the freedom of each group member to act as an individual producer in the laser market, free to contract or not contract with whom it chooses”; and concluding that “competitive consequences of such collaborative decision making cannot be determined on the basis of the pleadings”). This Part focuses on illegally maintaining or attaining a monopsony under § 2 of the Sherman Act. Section 2 prohibits any person from “monopoliz[ing], or attempt[ing] to monopolize, or combin[ing] or conspir[ing] with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce.” 12415 U.S.C. § 2 (2006). Since § 2 addresses the evils of concentrated economic power across many industries, 125United States v. Trenton Potteries Co., 273 U.S. 392, 397 (1927) (“[W]hatever difference of opinion there may be among economists as to the social and economic desirability of an unrestrained competitive system, it cannot be doubted that the Sherman Law and the judicial decisions interpreting it are based upon the assumption that the public interest is best protected from the evils of monopoly and price control by the maintenance of competition.”); see also United States v. Von’s Grocery Co., 384 U.S. 270, 274 (1966) (“From this country’s beginning there has been an abiding and widespread fear of the evils which flow from monopoly—that is the concentration of economic power in the hands of a few.”); United States v. Line Material Co., 333 U.S. 287, 309 (1948) (“Monopoly is a protean threat to fair prices.”); United States v. Se. Underwriters Ass’n, 322 U.S. 533, 553–54 (1944) (“‘Trusts’ and ‘monopolies’ were the terror of the period. Their power to fix prices, to restrict production, to crush small independent traders, and to concentrate large power in the few to the detriment of the many, were but some of numerous evils ascribed to them.” (footnote omitted)); United States v. Am. Linseed Oil Co., 262 U.S. 371, 388 (1923) (“The Sherman Act was intended to secure equality of opportunity and to protect the public against evils commonly incident to monopolies and those abnormal contracts and combinations which tend directly to suppress the conflict for advantage called competition—the play of the contending forces ordinarily engendered by an honest desire for gain.”); Charles A. Ramsay Co. v. Associated Bill Posters, 260 U.S. 501, 512 (1923) (“The fundamental purpose of the Sherman Act was to secure equality of opportunity and to protect the public against evils commonly incident to destruction of competition through monopolies and combinations in restraint of trade.”). it is a good starting point for evaluating monopsony claims.

A. Proving Monopsony Power

To prevail under § 2, the plaintiff first must prove that the defendant possesses monopsony power. 126United States v. Grinnell Corp., 384 U.S. 563, 570 (1966); see also In re Se. Milk Antitrust Litig., 801 F. Supp. 2d 705, 724 (E.D. Tenn. 2011) (setting out the same elements for monopsony claim under § 2 of the Sherman Act). A defendant, while lacking monopsony power, can still be liable under § 2 for attempting to monopsonize the market. See, e.g., M & M Med. Supplies & Serv., Inc. v. Pleasant Valley Hosp., Inc., 981 F.2d 160, 168 (4th Cir. 1992) (en banc) (observing that “[c]ompelling evidence of an intent to monopolize or of anticompetitive conduct reduces the level of market share that need be shown” for an attempt claim). Having buyer power does not satisfy this element. All monopsonists (like monopolists) have buyer (market) power, but not all firms with buyer (market) power are monopsonists (monopolists). 127Eastman Kodak Co. v. Image Technical Servs., Inc., 504 U.S. 451, 481 (1992) (“Monopoly power under § 2 [of the Sherman Act] requires, of course, something greater than market power under § 1.”); EC Horizontal Merger Guidelines, supra note 45, at 5 (noting that both suppliers and buyers can have market power, but, for clarity, using “market power” to refer to a supplier’s market power and “buyer power” to refer to a buyer’s market power). Firms with buyer power enjoy more power than a price taker in a perfectly competitive market but less power than a monopsonist. For example, the Coca-Cola Company increases its market power by acquiring a smaller competitor, Dr. Pepper. While the merger enables Coca-Cola to exercise market power (e.g., raise price, or diminish quality, service, innovation or another important facet of competition), Coca-Cola, given the competition from PepsiCo among others, is not a monopolist. The difficult question then is how much buyer power is necessary to be a monopsonist. 128Remarks on Single Firm Conduct, 15 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 1205, 1210 (2008). Dennis Carlton, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economic Analysis, noted the difficulty in making this distinction: “I mean, you can say that monopoly power is a lot of market power, but then what do you mean by a lot? And it’s not a very precise distinction and that can cloud issues.” Id.

Plaintiffs can prove monopsony power with direct evidence that the buyer depressed prices below the competitive level by withholding purchases of goods and services. 129Broadcom Corp. v. Qualcomm Inc., 501 F.3d 297, 307 (3d Cir. 2007) (“The existence of monopoly power may be proven through direct evidence of supracompetitive prices and restricted output.”). The problem is that direct evidence of monopsony (or monopoly) power is rare. 130OECD, supra note 1, at 34 (“In rare instances, when a firm has already exercised monopsony power, there might be direct evidence of its exercise.”); see also United States v. Microsoft Corp., 253 F.3d 34, 51 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (en banc) (per curiam) (observing that because direct proof of monopoly power is “rarely available, courts more typically examine market structure in search of circumstantial evidence of monopoly power”). The D.C. Circuit also declined to adopt a rule requiring direct evidence to show monopoly power in any market. Id. at 57. One reason is that rarely is there a line that clearly demarcates what a defendant would or would not do if it possessed (or lacked) monopoly or monopsony power. Id. As the German competition authority has observed, “[T]he simple monopsony model often does not adequately reflect the reality of procurement markets.” 131OECD, supra note 1, at 176.

Plaintiffs typically prove defendants’ market power circumstantially, with evidence of market share in a properly defined market protected by entry barriers. 132See, e.g., Microsoft, 253 F.3d at 51; ABA Section of Antitrust Law, Antitrust Law Developments 229 (6th ed. 2007). Courts, when reviewing monopolization claims, typically require defendants’ market share to be very large—often 70% or more. 133See Smith Wholesale Co. v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 219 F. App’x 398, 409 (6th Cir. 2007) (56% market share insufficient); Fineman v. Armstrong World Indus., Inc., 980 F.2d 171, 201 (3d Cir. 1992) (55% share insufficient); Arthur S. Langenderfer, Inc. v. S.E. Johnson Co., 917 F.2d 1413, 1430–31, 1443 (6th Cir. 1990) (finding 19%–29% market shares insufficient and noting that “[t]here is substantial merit in a presumption that market shares below 50 or 60 percent do not constitute monopoly power” (internal quotation marks omitted)); Colo. Interstate Gas Co. v. Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of Am., 885 F.2d 683, 694 n.18 (10th Cir. 1989); United States v. Aluminum Co. of Am., 148 F.2d 416, 424 (2d Cir. 1945) (observing that “it is doubtful whether sixty or sixty-four percent” is sufficient “and certainly thirty-three per cent is not”); In re Se. Milk Antitrust Litig., 801 F. Supp. 2d 705, 725 (E.D. Tenn. 2011) (noting that Byars v. Bluff City News Co., 609 F.2d 843, 850 (6th Cir. 1979), found that “75–80 percent or greater is a ‘starting point’ in assessing monopoly power”); R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Philip Morris Inc., 199 F. Supp. 2d 362, 394 (M.D.N.C. 2002) (“Seventy to seventy-five per cent is generally considered the minimum market share necessary to support a finding of monopoly power.”), aff’d sub nom. RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 67 F. App’x 810 (4th Cir. 2003); ABA Section of Antitrust Law, supra note 132, at 231–32 (“[C]ourts virtually never find monopoly power when market share is less than about 50 percent.”); 3 Phillip Areeda & Donald Turner, Antitrust Law: An Analysis of Antitrust Principles and Their Application ¶ 803 (1978) (“While the Supreme Court has refused to specify a minimum market share necessary to indicate a defendant has monopoly power, lower courts generally require a minimum market share of between 70% and 80%.”). But see Reazin v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kan., Inc., 899 F.2d 951, 968 (10th Cir. 1990) (“[M]arket share percentages may give rise to presumptions, but will rarely conclusively establish or eliminate market or monopoly power.”); Broadway Delivery Corp. v. United Parcel Serv. of Am., 651 F.2d 122, 128 (2d Cir. 1981) (stating that “exclusive focus on market share percentages can produce a distorted picture of market power”); Kolon Indus., Inc. v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., No. 3:11cv622, 2012 WL 1155218, at *11 (E.D. Va. Apr. 5, 2012) (considering besides market share defendant’s “ability to maintain power over pricing and competition ‘for a significant period without erosion by new entry or expansion’” (quoting 2B Phillip E. Areeda et al., Antitrust Law ¶ 501, at 111 (3d ed. 2007))). If courts and agencies assume that monopsony is the mirror image of monopoly, and that a 50% market share is insufficient for monopolization claims, should they similarly conclude that a 50% market share is insufficient for monopsonization claims?

Some agencies and courts fall in this trap. One U.S. district court recently dismissed a § 2 claim because the market share of around 40% did not meet “the threshold of what it takes to establish monopoly or monopsony power.” 134In re Se. Milk Antitrust Litig., 801 F. Supp. 2d at 727. The European Commission’s vertical guidelines also treat buyers’ and sellers’ market power similarly. The guidelines state that the sellers’ and buyers’ market shares are “decisive” in determining if the block exemption applies. 135Commission Guidelines on Vertical Restraints, at 28, SEC (2010) 411 (emphasis omitted), available at http://ec.europa.eu/competition/antitrust/legislation/guidelines_vertical_en.pdf. So if the seller’s or buyer’s share in the market where it sells or purchases goods or services is 30% or less, its conduct, except for certain hardcore restrictions of competition, is presumptively legal. 136Id. at 9–10.

One important distinction between monopoly and monopsony is the market share needed to infer significant power. 137See AAI Transition Report, supra note 4, at 292–94 (providing an example of the monopoly/monopsony market-share distinction in the pork industry); Carstensen, supra note 25, at 295–96 (providing several recent cases in which the retailers needed relatively modest market shares to exercise significant buyer power over their suppliers compared to the larger market shares required in monopoly cases); Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1515–18 (explaining that “coordinated monopsony pricing may occur at lower concentration levels, or be easier to sustain at moderate concentration levels, than coordinated supracompetitive pricing”). Retailers with a 20% market share can enjoy significant buyer power over sellers. 138Carstensen, supra note 25, at 295. In Toys “R” Us, Inc. v. FTC, the market shares fell below the ordinary thresholds for monopolization claims: The retailer Toys “R” Us accounted for “20% of the national wholesale market and up to 49% of some local wholesale markets.” 139221 F.3d 928, 937 (7th Cir. 2000). The affected toy manufacturers collectively accounted for about 40% of the traditional toy market. 140Id. Nonetheless, the FTC found, and the circuit court affirmed, that the group boycott, which the retailer orchestrated, was having its intended anticompetitive effect. 141Id. Toys “R” Us “was remarkably successful in causing the 10 major toy manufacturers to reduce output of toys to the warehouse clubs, and that reduction in output protected [Toys “R” Us] from having to lower its prices to meet the clubs’ price levels.” 142Id. One could distinguish Toys “R” Us as a group boycott, rather than a monopsony case. Moreover, Toys “R” Us was not the textbook monopsonist that bought fewer toys to depress the wholesale price. Nevertheless Toys “R” Us, despite its relatively low market share, had enough buyer power to accomplish its anticompetitive plan. The retailer—without a large market share—wielded its buyer power to coerce the toy manufacturers to raise the costs of Toys “R” Us’s rivals, the warehouse clubs.

B. Rather than Rely on Market Share Thresholds Alone to Find Monopsony Power, Courts and Agencies Should Consider Several Interrelated Factors that Suggest Coercion

If firms can enjoy monopsony power with a market share below 50%, then agencies and courts cannot reflexively apply the monopolization cases’ market-share thresholds. Doing so shields monopsonies’ harmful conduct from antitrust liability. The U.S. competition authorities recognize the difficulty, “in the abstract, to state market share thresholds for such monopsony concerns.” 143Health Report, supra note 31, ch. 6, at 17. Rather than rely on market-share thresholds alone to find monopsony power, they encourage the courts to consider several interrelated factors:

(1) a large market share on the part of the purchaser; (2) an upward sloping or somewhat inelastic supply curve in the input market; and (3) an inability or unwillingness for new purchasers to enter the market or current purchasers to expand the amount of their purchases in the market. 144Id.

This is the correct approach. In explaining why reliance on market share alone can be misleading, 145Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 60–61; see also Cory S. Capps, Buyer Power in Health Plan Mergers, 6 J. Competition L. & Econ. 375, 382–83 (2010) (discussing how assessing buyer power in health insurance cases on the basis of shares of patients may understate the risk of harm, given the difference in reimbursement levels from commercially insured patients and Medicare and Medicaid patients); Ganesh, supra note 6, at 1223 (arguing that the de minimis market-share threshold of 15% set by the European Commission’s 2010 vertical restraints guidelines is inadequate based on a 2000 finding that U.K. grocery retailers with as little as 8% of the total market had substantial buyer power over sellers). Professors Blair and Harrison apply the following formula to measure the degree of buyer power (i.e., the percentage deviation from the competitive result):

data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAcAAAAhCAIAAACaxSavAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAlwSFlzAAAS dAAAEnQB3mYfeAAAAGBJREFUKFNj/P//PwMGYMIUAoqMikKCZaiFAwMwjv//vz3BChGrVhNug0RB YkAmWH5bGogFVrstjYEhbRtYFAIgJkAkEFIwUZjpEJOYGLanW0+8g56CIFqhAGYnI41SHwDXP1mI x0bddgAAAABJRU5ErkJggk== /data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAABEAAAAhCAIAAACwddcAAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAlwSFlzAAAS dAAAEnQB3mYfeAAAAMRJREFUOE/tVbERgzAMtDILNIxgNqDKFG5ZBTZJpQ3ICDRmF0cyHLHsM4Qc pVXKev/rZQE459TFeFys5/KCKR6Ud7Auzn27sIwttOOS20fabRl20EoPNsl/EypFHAP4+yExaE44 uFxiMhCWu4dBgSGIMhh3EmQJTMpjr3VTx27Vzc5S9dPUVz/MhwpRdUCx2R9j3rMVPDwpgNfTCyYO fyjUpx6IFtH4OZx6HXq2+XPDTEkpX5waHrYQ86xn3EX+CcEf/58PAGnTz7uR5XAAAAAASUVORK5C YIJ= + data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAABIAAAAhCAIAAABbQmwDAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAlwSFlzAAAS dAAAEnQB3mYfeAAAAPRJREFUSEvtlbEVgjAQhhNmUQufE4QJeDZUjoCllXuEEkagogEnMBPwKEh2 iTmCcEZ4gIUVVyW5fNzP/SFQrTVZH956BIgN++rb1pKtJfMf079OiYp96sfEXAqLQ3JGGJdwjyxm tIEssworo65Sh5m5iajU2o5QFkn5oLQX+3nY7s+v1IxAisgK5XrwyFNyOuzey97tmQSqqUhKQp0E dhnlEc6O+34GvqkiE4zfLSNrgfMTzgMGOy9nK8CI6ccOImqJq2HZIHdUYhBGpGqGV4YetG2EGPz8 ttM1YLLLDjppNy48dnqGPD5cc1T7JLCYcfrb/+0F3GiwaiYczAkAAAAASUVORK5CYIJ= 1 – ))

where data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAgAAAAhCAIAAABrzn0iAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAlwSFlzAAAS dAAAEnQB3mYfeAAAAIZJREFUOE9j/P//PwM2wIRVFCg4KoERMkMsSBiAcQ4G29KQvZK2DeKP7emM Xlcm3AaruD3BCiQElrhz6woDg46aCliRineYlZWWKsQosDlp22DGgmiYHVADrKDmISSQTIfoZABZ hjAErBHMZWK4fe3YrA3boW4FchhANgMBmgfgljDSIVEDAF8Jd+zFRUvDAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC is the buyer’s market share, data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAoAAAAhCAIAAABvO60fAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAlwSFlzAAAS dAAAEnQB3mYfeAAAAMdJREFUOE/tUrERwjAMVDILUHBMYE/A0aSipTPrxCV0tKnSJGzgCbgU2Ls4 ko3tOJcwQVzp719+vU6FtRbWX/mHQ2qjF/ezrWVtLUbyAh+XBhXvO9UBQSn5DV62F6CGDnVthbdJ qOlIDYis1TWjWvQOEQ2s1lj5netBEfk4O2S+H4DTYRcu1WFRedKL2XFPpesmnNhJs/NOVtE5TIHd mRqjtc/wtft8YpXPFYP5PLNQBOfHRE7seqFQcfK0btM16hd5ic7nABgB9UmFfHjUTlgAAAAASUVO RK5CYIJ= is the elasticity of demand of the fringe buyers, and data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAkAAAAhCAIAAACEDBYcAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAlwSFlzAAAS dAAAEnQB3mYfeAAAAHdJREFUOE9j/P//PwMOwIRLAig+Koc9cEZMuNyZaM2IANYT7wDDA5iW/v+/ PcGKgcFqwm04J20bKI2BudvSGBjAXBQAkcMuCZWDSoPCHGY0xEyQidjNBLsD0zKgHmgcXbkFcjMY bE9nTN8OYcJcAo9ehBGMdM4rAMGBnEITLEaxAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC is the overall elasticity of supply. 146Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 58. From this formula, one can see that market share is one of several interrelated factors that determine buyer power. Indeed, in defining the relevant monopsony product and geographic markets, one should account for both and . 147Health Report, supra note 31, ch. 6, at 15 (noting that the key factor in “defining monopsony product and geographic markets” is “whether the buyers of the input in the putative market successfully would be able to lower the price they pay for the input or whether, instead, the sellers have sufficient realistic alternatives to allow them to circumvent the price decrease”).

In assessing whether the defendant possesses monopsony power, the competition authority and court should consider first its market share, , namely the percentage share in either dollars or units of the defendant’s purchases of that input. 148Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 58.

Next is the elasticity of fringe demand, , which is the capacity of alternative buyers to purchase the goods or services “without undue delay, risk, or cost.” 149Carstensen, supra note 25, at 278; see also Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 59 (explaining that buyer power declines with increases in the elasticity of fringe demand); 2010 Merger Guidelines, supra note 5, at 32–33 (“In defining relevant markets, the Agencies focus on the alternatives available to sellers in the face of a decrease in the price paid by a hypothetical monopsonist.”). The greater the widget sellers’ difficulty in turning to other buyers to purchase their widgets, the greater the defendant’s buyer power. 150If “the equation for measuring market power in monopsony is a mirror image of the relationships that create market power in a seller,” then a “greater availability of substitute buyers indicates a smaller quantum of market power on the part of the buyers in question.” Sprint Nextel Corp. v. AT&T Inc., 821 F. Supp. 2d 308, 324 (D.D.C. 2011) (quoting Todd v. Exxon Corp., 275 F.3d 191, 202 (2d Cir. 2001)) (internal quotation marks omitted). One factor is entry barriers. If the defendant attempts to exercise monopsony power by offering too low a price, would other buyers likely enter the market to timely defeat the exercise of monopsony power?

Third is the elasticity of supply, , namely the sellers’ ability and incentive to switch to selling other goods or services. 151Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 58–59. Buyer power depends in part on the captivity of the sellers in producing and selling that particular product. 1522010 Merger Guidelines, supra note 5, at 33 (“Market power on the buying side of the market is not a significant concern if suppliers have numerous attractive outlets for their goods or services.”). An apple orchard owner, facing a powerful buyer, may have fewer options than a carrot farmer, who may more readily switch to another crop (such as beets or turnips) the following year. A related factor is whether the seller “invested in dedicated facilities to serve the existing downstream buyer(s), such as rail infrastructure,” which reduces the seller’s ability to switch to other buyers. 153Oxera, supra note 9, at 2; see also Adams v. Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., No. 2:09-CV-397, 2011 WL 5330301, at *2 (E.D. Tex. Sept. 30, 2011) (noting that a chicken “grower without a buyer for its services is more economically vulnerable than an employee of an integrator [because] [t]he independent grower, unlike an employee who works for a poultry complex, has incurred the expense of constructing or purchasing physical facilities beneficial to only the integrator in exchange for compensation for grower services”).

To illustrate, consider two firms in two different industries: Firm A has a 60% market share; Firm B has a 40% market share. If and are the same in both industries, then we can conclude that Firm A enjoys more buyer power in its industry than Firm B in its industry. But if we change the values of and , then Firm B, despite its lower market share, can enjoy greater buyer power. 154See Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 60–61 (demonstrating that depending on the values of data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAcAAAAQCAIAAABV4/KnAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAlwSFlzAAAS dAAAEnQB3mYfeAAAAIdJREFUKFNj/P//PwMGYMIUAorQSpTh/+0JVgwMVhNu/9+WBrY5bdv//0wT uxkWbks7tireekPAf5DMlVt3GBiA7gWpBikGAqAoSC1QFCQIYkLkwdJAUag8kuB/JobtG2ZZaamC Lbp97ZiOmgqIBdYJATD9QDcgwuHO1lUwpUhqEeb/Z8QakgBQAXVWUMDyIgAAAABJRU5ErkJggk== and data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAYAAAAQCAIAAAC6IZmZAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAlwSFlzAAAS dAAAEnQB3mYfeAAAAE9JREFUKFOtj8ENACAMAqtjOVDncZou4zAINproW37AkaYFgN2qj6f9GRkv YvR2rngoYtL6ULe0KCBcWBaWK48DMSKwg3BxHOZIyqp8/HEC8xxKmQPDfGEAAAAASUVORK5CYIJ= , an industry with a lower market share can actually have greater buyer power).

Suppose in Firm A’s industry:

  • data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACoAAAAhCAIAAAAgZq7PAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAlwSFlzAAAS dAAAEnQB3mYfeAAAATNJREFUWEftlzESgjAQRRfPohaOJ4hHsLe1w1KPEls7Wysb8QaewLEQ7oJJ dolxQZzRxDRJt0yG9/fvJ0BW1zXEW4N4aE1O+Ij+J/OT+ZEcSNGLZHw6dFP0/hG98yp7rtm2apjq ayf0KnIFE7JEjqkgL0wBodkItHBVllJYvsJjSTtQmyM2gDzDwPZBCq1MX8ml0mGu6srV61eCQyfz yQAaSC++seddXj/JNqgGRHhXEE3D7vDauoa7Ak30XhUF855hbPLN5PFJaIth3X9t/iuE7qq7Z0nr 3PfjCLjpRY4jUGd+db8CTMdDCtP5uAMxGfk8CqvtcgNyv24QoBm4ePMdA/qxczrnWD/YfevUC/vM 8074C1dPQizm1iafM+i4F8NXp8PFyUFgeOsPt7xdfOeut4UHvVajMS+8P0cAAAAASUVORK5CYIJ= , in that the elasticity of demand of the fringe buyers is greater as they are willing to buy more of the sellers’ products should Firm A lower its purchase price, and

  • data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACkAAAAhCAIAAADLURXMAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAlwSFlzAAAS dAAAEnQB3mYfeAAAAPhJREFUWEftlzESgyAQACFvySvMY9JhmTwF23T5gRV8JFX0LwQ4ODSjI6Oo zV0ljLJ3yw0qN8awk+JyEtdhiX28fHJOzo8yQL12lOnEIefkvLgBXfMUt6aPAPvdsmsoYUmV7ADi R0woP2C7goGGZDvsZIVwZMNkjOHtZbPzlUPhwPbgyHODYKUsFqWPnLtkFnGwV/OR4crXiKDgPAu+ 1YIjDxNMvRbLykh/TRLjkrHPR40/v+4W55NeGfTZ4mavKTU+8+9aCXAb3mOfLx429hCqdcGjrW/u Tybfj2tcU7evcJlOmzBRWMHkTkHdnP4FC+5x3lJnfjP9AMH7GSdW8zRfAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC , in that sellers, if Firm A lowers its price, can more readily switch from producing widgets to other things.

Since the elasticity of demand of the fringe buyers and the elasticity of supply are lower in Firm B’s industry (e.g., both and in Firm B’s industry equal 1) than in Firm A’s industry, Firm B, despite its lower market share, now enjoys greater buyer power than Firm A.

These three interrelated factors were evident in a recent DOJ action. In 2011, George’s Foods acquired Tyson Foods’s Harrisonburg, Virginia chicken processing plant. 155Complaint, supra note 27, at 2. George’s and Tyson Foods were two of the region’s three chicken processors that competed in producing, processing, and distributing chickens raised for meat products (“broilers”). 156Id. at 2–3. Post-acquisition, George’s would control “approximately 43% of chicken processing capacity in the Shenandoah Valley, with only one other remaining competitor, Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation.” 157Id. at 3. The DOJ alleged that the acquisition would lead to monopsony power. 158Competitive Impact Statement, supra note 27, at 6 (“[I]n short, the Transaction would lead George’s to exercise monopsony power.”). George’s could reduce below competitive levels the prices it paid to Shenandoah Valley-area farmers who raised chickens for processors such as Tyson Foods and George’s. 159See id.

To prevail under § 7 of the Clayton Act, a plaintiff must prove that the effect of the merger “may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly.” 16015 U.S.C. § 18 (2006) (emphasis added). In alleging the former, the plaintiff need not prove a merger to monopsony. But in George’s Foods, the DOJ alleged a merger to monopsony, and did so without relying on market share alone. 161See Complaint, supra note 27, at 11–13. If the competition agency and court simply assumed that monopsonies were the mirror image of monopolies, they would have concluded that George’s, with a post-merger 43% market share, was not a monopsony. But the DOJ properly considered the other interrelated factors. It first considered the industry’s inelastic supply:

In order to enter the chicken growing business, growers make significant investments that are highly specific to broiler production. They must build chicken houses that may cost from $100,000 to $300,000, and have a 30-year economic life. Many growers take out substantial loans in order to make these investments. Chicken houses have no practical alternative use. If a grower were to stop raising chickens, his or her best option would likely be to raze the chicken-raising facilities because converting a chicken house to a house suitable for another use involves substantial expense. For instance, converting a chicken house to one suitable for turkey growing can cost more than $100,000. Most chicken farmers would not abandon their investments in chicken houses in response to small decreases in the prices and other contract terms they receive for their services. 162Id. at 7–8.

Next the DOJ considered the inelasticity of demand of fringe buyers. 163See id. at 4, 11. Post-acquisition the market’s remaining processor lacked “sufficient capacity to take on significant numbers of growers if George’s were to depress payments to growers.” 164Id.

Finally the DOJ considered the difficulty in entering the broiler chicken processing industry:

New entry into the production and sale of broiler chickens is costly and time consuming. Construction of a large-scale chicken processing facility would require investment of at least $35 million and take two or more years to obtain necessary permits, plan, design, and build. In addition, there are significant costs and inefficiencies associated with the start-up period of a new chicken processing facility. Repositioning by firms or facilities that slaughter primarily turkeys would require additional capital investment. Moreover, a turkey processor seeking to add chicken products to its offering would first need to find customers for its output prior to contracting with growers. 165Id. at 12.

Entry therefore would be neither likely, timely, nor sufficient to defeat the small but significant, nontransitory decrease in the price George’s paid farmers for broiler chickens. 166Id.

Consequently, courts and agencies can lessen the risk of false negatives by looking beyond market-share thresholds. Depending on the elasticity of demand of the fringe buyers data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAABgAAAAhCAIAAABMYPzKAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAlwSFlzAAAS dAAAEnQB3mYfeAAAATZJREFUSEvtlLERgzAMReXMQihyTGAmyNGkYgRYB8pkhFQ0CRswAUcB7EKQ DME2NnA5ihS4AiM/6X8ks67rYI912gOCjAO07uTh0eHRugPrEf/fR23qMxbni1LymDE/bbWY/mIb V5Nw4Ekj7dgfMRai9xQAv1DEGTXvCHpHaoLNZY0SBGhW6HcTBrGYCJcqXSqKQAZOv4VnqNCk94Ps wDcbiUDzgEEZZZg0G+K+liw3ZFMViLlfSVZblwCe6+i9UdZ9KyDIFiA+RDeBAUAsv5zNPYYgx/UA CKstPDlxrPno1JK0PHvIFahYKSepJdD5wqGoGq0erQINK4IxRqglkBOEHB6ZNmGqJUZh7etZ8DAg +4cfvdrZphaRh2TrrBkG2jxr8ylUpm3W+/bpl3tZvh7EviLMOAgfSSOM7F5qyXkAAAAASUVORK5C YIJ= and overall supply data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAABcAAAAhCAIAAAC9a6dHAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAlwSFlzAAAS dAAAEnQB3mYfeAAAARpJREFUSEvtVLsVgzAQO2cWoOAxAUxAKqaAMktkAChhCiqYIJmAlwLYxeFs PjbYJrykSMFVgM/ySZYglFL4ui5fIyDAiaKW8dTl1OVIwP7ZL30WEJLUejp1QkiQ9auG4S81VZf6 4Ked8EXziI0QV8sqHIbgG+QTJ5QqltE/G2ianKNsRpRpLiKIhIVxGIoWhC1MO/FFFENgxVCQjlLW HZ7zstl1YRRDURruHaBph1tHlL5tADzHUpgkzGkFV4K1NcnSjyiW442YMg4ajJAy4lI/bqpj+A49 oz67F6hmHhpzyTgwFNv14fnqFN2MNa9hslUyUAnftXHR5Be8g7mkS17Z95fe3QRjNwDqHG0TZgDS Z3rcZEgU71D6/A00+Kuy2ngzigAAAABJRU5ErkJggk== , firms with relatively low market shares can enjoy as much, if not greater, buyer power as firms with higher market shares. Although George’s market share may not suggest monopsony power (if one simply applied the thresholds used in monopolization cases), George’s nonetheless could “decrease prices or degrade contract terms to farmers for grower services in that region.” 167Id. at 4.

One can argue that market-share thresholds are arbitrary for both monopsony and monopoly claims. Indeed, the same factors to show George’s monopsony power, despite its relatively low market share, could show its monopoly power. In other words, when the elasticity of supply by fringe sellers and the elasticity of consumer demand are both low, a firm with a 43% market share could also exercise monopoly power. Plaintiffs, however, rarely challenge the monopolization caselaw’s market-share thresholds per se. Instead the litigants typically debate whether the market should be defined more broadly or narrowly. 168See, e.g., Chem-Nuclear Sys., Inc. v. Waste Mgmt., Inc., No. C82-812C, 1982 WL 1320, at *2 (W.D. Wash. July 16, 1982) (“The critical battle in antitrust litigation is often the definition of the product market. And it is standard practice for a party asserting an antitrust claim to try to define the relevant market as narrowly as possible and for the Defendant to define it as broadly as possible.”); cf. Leegin Creative Leather Prods., Inc. v. PSKS, Inc., 551 U.S. 877, 917 (2007) (Breyer, J., dissenting) (“The Court’s invitation to consider the existence of ‘market power,’ for example, invites lengthy time-consuming argument among competing experts, as they seek to apply abstract, highly technical, criteria to often ill-defined markets.” (citation omitted)).

Nonetheless, even in properly defined markets, buyers with low market shares at times can exert tremendous power. Maybe buyers, in their ability to decide when, whether, from whom, and how much to buy a perishable product, have relatively more power than sellers; thus, buyers in these industries can discipline sellers more effectively from exercising market power than sellers can discipline buyers. 169See, e.g., Carstensen, supra note 5, at 786–87 (discussing why high-volume retailers have significant leverage over their suppliers). It may also be that sellers in some industries are more dependent on the buyers than the buyers are dependent on the sellers. For example, suppose a local supermarket accounts for a significant percentage of moist snuff sales for a smokeless tobacco manufacturer; also suppose that the moist snuff category accounts for a relatively small percentage of the supermarket’s overall sales and profits. 170Conwood Co. v. U.S. Tobacco Co., 290 F.3d 768, 776–77 (6th Cir. 2002) (relying on expert testimony that “many retailers consider moist snuff a small category and give it little attention,” and as a result delegate “category management responsibilities to a [moist snuff] manufacturer”). One can see that it is more important for the smokeless tobacco manufacturer to have its moist snuff in that supermarket than it is for the supermarket to carry that particular brand of smokeless tobacco.

The issue of false positives, however, remains. Monopsonists can have low market shares, but many buyers with low market shares are not monopsonists. Likewise all monopsonists possess buyer power, but not all firms with buyer power are monopsonists. “Indeed,” observed the U.S. competition authorities, “because one of the purposes of managed care is to lower prices closer to a competitive level, it can be difficult to determine when a managed care purchaser is exercising monopsony power.” 171Health Report, supra note 31, ch. 6, at 18. Reduction in sellers’ output is not the telltale mark of monopsony, as buyers, for example, can price discriminate. Quantifying and can be elusive, difficult, and contentious. 172Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 66.

Therefore in assessing monopsony claims, agencies and courts should use a sliding scale: The lower the alleged monopsonist’s market share, the greater the plaintiff’s burden in showing (i) the fringe buyers’ inability to acquire more of the sellers’ output and (ii) the sellers’ inability to easily and cheaply produce and sell other products, in other locales, or to other buyers. 173See id. at 64–67. Granted this is, at times, a matter of degree. The defendant can be a “hard-nosed actor in the market,” 174In re Se. Milk Antitrust Litig., 801 F. Supp. 2d 705, 727 (E.D. Tenn. 2011). but not a monopsonist. So a rule of thumb is the buyer’s coercion. Coercion implicitly incorporates both and : As the sellers’ price is depressed, there remain few alternative buyers or alternative selling opportunities to rescue the exploited sellers from their captivity to the buyer. Although market power “ordinarily is inferred from the seller’s possession of a predominant share of the market,” 175Eastman Kodak Co. v. Image Technical Servs., Inc., 504 U.S. 451, 464 (1992). the Supreme Court found that underlying market power is coercion, namely “the power ‘to force a purchaser to do something that he would not do in a competitive market.’” 176Id. (quoting Jefferson Parish Hosp. Dist. No. 2 v. Hyde, 466 U.S. 2, 14 (1984)). The more the evidence shows that the defendant is forcing sellers to do things that they would not otherwise do in a competitive market, the more likely the defendant is a monopsonist, even when the defendant’s market share is relatively low. 177Richard M. Steuer, The Simplicity of Antitrust Law, 14 U. Pa. J. Bus. L. 543, 543 (2012) (“Properly applied, antitrust law focuses simply, and entirely, on combating two of the most innate proclivities in human nature—bullying and ganging up—when such conduct harms competition.”). The stronger the evidence of the buyer’s coercion, the stronger the inference of monopsony.

III. Using Consumer Welfare to Screen Monopsony Claims

Part II addressed one significant risk in assuming monopsony as the mirror image of monopoly, namely in assessing the defendant’s monopsony power, courts will impose the monopolization caselaw’s high market-share thresholds. Part II sought to mitigate this risk by offering courts a sliding scale and rule of thumb. This Part addresses a second significant risk if agencies and courts assume monopsony to be the mirror image of monopoly, namely they may require plaintiffs to prove that the monopsony’s actions harm consumers downstream.

In bringing a § 2 claim, the plaintiff must prove not only the defendant’s monopsony power, but also “the willful acquisition or maintenance of that power as distinguished from growth or development as a consequence of a superior product, business acumen, or historic accident.” 178United States v. Grinnell Corp., 384 U.S. 563, 570–71 (1966). Here agencies and courts consider whether the monopsonist is attempting to exclude rival purchasers or captivate sellers on some basis besides efficiency. 179Cf. Aspen Skiing Co. v. Aspen Highlands Skiing Corp., 472 U.S. 585, 605 (1985). Because few cases have been brought, what constitutes exclusionary and predatory monopsony behavior remains largely unexplored. 180As this Article discusses, monopsony is not the mirror image of monopoly. So one can also expect unique monopsonization theories, such as “naked overbuying,” where the defendant raises its rivals’ costs by purchasing (or manipulating the purchase price of) an input that its rivals, but not the defendant, use in their production process. See Salop, supra note 38, at 683–84 (raising and discussing naked overbuying). For monopolization cases, courts and agencies, under the belief that the Sherman Act is a consumer welfare prescription, typically require proof that the monopolist’s willful conduct harmed consumers downstream. 181See, e.g., Phillips Getschow Co. v. Green Bay Brown Cnty. Prof’l Football Stadium Dist., 270 F. Supp. 2d 1043, 1047–48 (E.D. Wis. 2003) (“As the antitrust laws protect competition rather than competitors, whether the injury to a competitor is really antitrust injury often may be ascertained by looking for related harm to consumers. The antitrust injury doctrine essentially requires a plaintiff to show that its loss comes from acts that reduce output or raise prices to consumers.”). But the Seventh Circuit rejected the notion that antitrust injury always relies on a showing of consumer harm:We have found no case (and none has been cited to us) in which the Supreme Court has put the burden on a plaintiff to isolate and demonstrate the consumer impact of a particular purported antitrust violation not directed at the consumer level. While antitrust law may be moving in the direction of being construed as a “pure” consumer protection measure, cases such as Otter Tail strongly suggest that in the natural monopoly area, at least, the Supreme Court has not embraced this approach. The Court has instead stressed that the antitrust laws seek to protect competition, as well as to protect those activities that will promote competition. The antitrust laws are concerned with the competitive process, and their application does not depend in each particular case upon the ultimate demonstrable consumer effect. A healthy and unimpaired competitive process is presumed to be in the consumer interest.Fishman v. Estate of Wirtz, 807 F.2d 520, 536 (7th Cir. 1986) (footnotes omitted) (citations omitted). This makes sense when the monopoly is abusing its power downstream on consumers. But a consumer harm requirement does not make sense for monopsony claims, since the monopsony directs its power upstream on its sellers. Nonetheless some courts make this fundamental mistake. 182See, e.g., Kamine/Besicorp Allegany L.P. v. Rochester Gas & Elec. Corp., 908 F. Supp. 1194, 1203 (W.D.N.Y. 1995) (“The problem with this type of monopsony power, then, is that ultimately it can injure consumers by forcing up the price of the end product. Where the risk of that happening is slight or nonexistent, however, monopsony power per se does not create an antitrust concern.”).

In devising any legal standard for evaluating monopsony claims, the critical threshold issue is what harm counts. As the German Bundeskartellamt observed, one must discuss abuses of buyer power “in terms of the basic objectives of competition law.” 183OECD, supra note 1, at 175. The issue then is whether courts and agencies should reconcile abuse of monopsony power claims with a consumer welfare objective. Must plaintiffs prove not only that the defendant willfully maintained its monopsony, but also that its conduct ultimately harmed downstream consumers?

The OECD and European Commission say yes. 184Id. at 9–10, 306. They propose that agencies and courts use consumer harm to screen buyer-power claims. 185See id. at 10. As the OECD explained, “Reductions in input prices in the case of bargaining power are typically beneficial, so requiring an explanation of how increases in bargaining power would harm downstream consumers will help to avoid inadvertently deterring pro-competitive behaviour.” 186Id. at 9 (emphasis omitted). The European Commission states that “the ultimate end user of any product—the consumer—should be at the centre of competition law.” 187Id. at 255; see also Commission Staff Working Document on Competition in the Food Supply Chain, at 18, SEC (2009) 1449 (Oct. 28, 2009) [hereinafter Food Supply Chain] (“Abuses of buyer power are contrary to EC competition law where there is a proven detriment to downstream consumers.”). The OECD believes that predicting whether an increase in buyer power will have positive or negative effects is difficult. 188OECD, supra note 1, at 9–10, 306–07. To avoid chilling a monopsonist’s pro-competitive behavior, agencies and courts should use consumer harm as a screen, namely that the upstream buyer’s conduct harms the end consumer. Some, within the United States, argue for a consumer welfare screen. 189John D. Shively, When Does Buyer Power Become Monopsony Pricing?, Antitrust Mag., Fall 2012, at 87.

Consumer welfare is indeed a popular competition policy objective. 190See J. Thomas Rosch, Monopsony and the Meaning of “Consumer Welfare”: A Closer Look at Weyerhaeuser, 2007 Colum. Bus. L. Rev. 353, 35354; Maurice E. Stucke, Reconsidering Antitrust’s Goals, 53 B.C. L. Rev. 551, 570–71 (2012). Thirty of thirty-three countries in a 2007 International Competition Network (ICN) survey identified promoting consumer welfare as an objective for their monopolization statutes. 191See Unilateral Conduct Working Grp., Int’l Competition Network, Report on the Objectives of Unilateral Conduct Laws, Assessment of Dominance/Substantial Market Power, and State-Created Monopolies 9 (2007) [hereinafter ICN Report], available at http://www.internationalcompetitionnetwork.org/uploads/library/doc353.pdf. Consumer welfare was the second most popular antitrust goal, trailing the goal of ensuring an effective competitive process, and ahead of the goals of maximizing efficiency and ensuring economic freedom. Id. at 2. The European Commission noted how, “over the past two decades, the Commission’s antitrust and merger policy . . . more effectively placed the emphasis on consumer welfare, notably through an increasingly refined economic analysis.” 192Commission Report on Competition Policy 2010, supra note 119, at 5.

But there are many problems with consumer welfare as competition policy’s primary or sole goal. Monopsony only highlights the infirmities.

A. Why Doesn’t the Key Proponent of the Consumer Welfare Objective Use a Consumer Welfare Screen?

Some United States courts 193See, e.g., Brooke Grp. Ltd. v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 509 U.S. 209, 221 (1993) (noting “the antitrust laws’ traditional concern for consumer welfare and price competition”); NCAA v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. of Okla., 468 U.S. 85, 107 (1984) (“Congress designed the Sherman Act as a ‘consumer welfare prescription.’” (quoting Reiter v. Sonotone Corp., 442 U.S. 330, 343 (1979))); Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 538 (1983) (observing that antitrust laws “assure customers the benefits of price competition”); Broadcom Corp. v. Qualcomm Inc., 501 F.3d 297, 308 (3d Cir. 2007) (noting the “primary goal of antitrust law is to maximize consumer welfare by promoting competition among firms”); L.A.P.D., Inc. v. Gen. Elec. Corp., 132 F.3d 402, 404 (7th Cir. 1997) (“Antitrust law is designed to protect consumers from the higher prices—and society from the reduction in allocative efficiency—that occurs when firms with market power curtail output.”); Rebel Oil Co. v. Atl. Richfield Co., 51 F.3d 1421, 1444–45 & n.15 (9th Cir. 1995) (characterizing allocative efficiency as synonymous with consumer welfare and as “the central goal of the Sherman Act”); J. Allen Ramey, M.D., Inc. v. Pac. Found. for Med. Care, 999 F. Supp. 1355, 1364 (S.D. Cal. 1998); Ginzburg v. Mem’l Healthcare Sys., Inc., 993 F. Supp. 998, 1015 (S.D. Tex. 1997) (noting the “purpose of antitrust law is the promotion of consumer welfare” (quoting Reazin v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kan., Inc., 899 F.2d 951, 960 (10th Cir. 1990)) (internal quotation marks omitted)). and scholars 194Scholars, as one recent symposium on the goals of competition law reveals, continue to debate after Robert H. Bork’s influential book, The Antitrust Paradox: A Policy at War with Itself (1978), over antitrust’s goals. Even among those who advocate an economic welfare objective, it is unsettled whether welfare should reflect consumer welfare or total welfare, what those terms mean, and the extent to which it makes any difference. See, e.g., Roger D. Blair & D. Daniel Sokol, Welfare Standards in U.S. and E.U. Antitrust Enforcement, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2497, 2499 (2013) (arguing that “total welfare rather than consumer welfare . . . should drive antitrust analysis”); Herbert Hovenkamp, Implementing Antitrust’s Welfare Goals, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2471, 2471 (2013) (“One welfare concern that has dominated debates over U.S. antitrust policy over the last several decades is whether antitrust should adopt a ‘consumer welfare’ principle rather than a more neoclassical ‘total welfare’ principle.”); David A. Hyman & William E. Kovacic, Institutional Design, Agency Life Cycle, and the Goals of Competition Law, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2163, 2163–64 (2013) (“Post–Chicago School enthusiasts accept the importance of efficiency but argue that the antitrust laws also exist to achieve other economic ends, including the protection of consumer choice and the prevention of unfair transfers of wealth from consumers to producers.”); John B. Kirkwood, The Essence of Antitrust: Protecting Consumers and Small Suppliers from Anticompetitive Conduct, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2425, 2453 (2013) (addressing and critiquing total welfare standard); Robert H. Lande, A Traditional and Textualist Analysis of the Goals of Antitrust: Efficiency, Preventing Theft from Consumers, and Consumer Choice, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2349, 2360 n.54 (2013) (noting Bork’s “deceptive use of the term ‘consumer welfare,’ instead of the more honest term ‘total welfare,’ was a brilliant way to market the efficiency objective”); Alan J. Meese, Reframing the (False?) Choice Between Purchaser Welfare and Total Welfare, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2197, 2198 (2013) (noting how the term consumer welfare, while a popular goal, “means different things to different people”); Barak Orbach, How Antitrust Lost Its Goal, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2253, 2273 (2013) (noting that “[f]or Bork, the phrase ‘consumer welfare’ meant ‘allocative efficiency’” but a “few years after Bork presented his thesis of the legislative intent of the Sherman Act, the phrase ‘consumer welfare’ acquired a popular [and different] cultural meaning referring to the buyer’s well being: the benefits a buyer derives from the consumption of goods and services, or more casually, the individual’s well being”); Joshua D. Wright & Douglas H. Ginsburg, The Goals of Antitrust: Welfare Trumps Choice, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2405, 2406 & n.10 (2013) (arguing, on the one hand, that the “promotion of economic welfare as the lodestar of antitrust laws—to the exclusion of social, political, and protectionist goals—transformed the state of the law and restored intellectual coherence to a body of law,” while declining, on the other hand, to elaborate “whether the appropriate standard is aggregate economic efficiency, often referred to as the total welfare standard or ‘true’ consumer welfare (in the economic sense of a consumer surplus) standard” and how policy makers would choose between the two welfare standards without referencing social and political goals (footnote omitted)). But see Harry First & Spencer Weber Waller, Antitrust’s Democracy Deficit, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2543, 2544 n.5 (2013) (“We take as a given that antitrust has political goals and reflects political value judgments.”). in the past thirty years have been cheering globally for some measure of economic welfare as competition policy’s primary objective. But in the United States over the past thirty years, the quest for a single economic objective was, as I discuss elsewhere, a failure. 195Stucke, supra note 190, at 563–95; see also Jonathan B. Baker, Economics and Politics: Perspectives on the Goals and Future of Antitrust, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2175, 2180 (2013) (discussing why it is of “no surprise that after decades of doctrinal elaboration under an economic approach, the antitrust community has not reached a durable consensus over the economic goal that antitrust enforcement should pursue”); Orbach, supra note 194, at 2275 (“While offered as a remedy for reconciling confusion and contrasts in antitrust, the introduction of the consumer welfare standard effectively placed antitrust at war with itself.”). One need only look at monopsony power to see why.

Shortly after the Sherman Act’s enactment, the U.S. courts recognized harm to sellers, independent of any harm to downstream consumers. One early prosecution was brought against stockyard owners that bought and slaughtered livestock into fresh meats for human consumption. 196United States v. Swift & Co., 122 F. 529 (C.C.N.D. Ill. 1903), modified, 196 U.S. 375 (1905). The defendants directed their purchasing agents at the stockyards “to refrain from bidding against each other when making purchases of such livestock, and by these means inducing and compelling the owners of such livestock to sell the same at less prices than they would receive if such bidding were competitive.” 197Id. at 530. The fact that consumer surplus increased did not excuse the bid-rigging:

Indeed, combination that leads directly to lower prices to the consumer may, within the doctrine of these cases, even as against the consumer, be restraint of trade; and combination that leads directly to higher prices, may, as against the producer be restraint of trade. The statute, thus interpreted, has no concern with prices, but looks solely to competition, and to the giving of competition full play, by making illegal any effort at restriction upon competition. Whatever combination has the direct and necessary effect of restricting competition, is, within the meaning of the Sherman [A]ct as now interpreted, restraint of trade. 198Id. at 534.

Likewise, in 1948 the Court held that the Sherman Act applies to buyer cartels that only injure sellers, not customers or consumers. 199See Mandeville Island Farms, Inc. v. Am. Crystal Sugar Co., 334 U.S. 219, 235–36 (1948). According to the Court:

[The Sherman Act] does not confine its protection to consumers, or to purchasers, or to competitors, or to sellers. Nor does it immunize the outlawed acts because they are done by any of these. The Act is comprehensive in its terms and coverage, protecting all who are made victims of the forbidden practices by whomever they may be perpetrated. 200Id. (citations omitted).

Several U.S. courts rejected a consumer welfare screen for evaluating a monopsony’s behavior. 201See, e.g., W. Penn Allegheny Health Sys., Inc. v. UPMC, 627 F.3d 85, 105 (3d Cir. 2010) (“Highmark’s improperly motivated exercise of monopsony power, like the collusive exercise of oligopsony power by the cheese makers in Knevelbaard, was anticompetitive and cannot be defended on the sole ground that it enabled Highmark to set lower premiums on its insurance plans.”); Telecor Commc’ns, Inc. v. Sw. Bell Tel. Co., 305 F.3d 1124, 1133–34 (10th Cir. 2002) (rejecting the defendant’s claim that a monopsony is not actionable unless it injures consumers by forcing up the price of the end product as inconsistent with the Court’s treatment of monopsony cases that “strongly suggests that suppliers . . . are protected by antitrust laws even when the anti-competitive activity does not harm end-users”); Dyer v. Conoco, Inc., No. 93-2801, 1995 WL 103233, at *5 (5th Cir. Feb. 21, 1995) (“Our cases have recognized that sellers to a monopsony or oligopsony can establish antitrust injury. They can do so because ‘[i]n the monopsony or oligopsony price fixing case . . . the seller faces a Hobson’s choice: he can sell into the rigged market and take the depressed price, or he can refuse to sell at all.’” (alteration in original) (citation omitted) (quoting In re Beef Indus. Antitrust Litig., 600 F.2d 1148, 1158 (5th Cir. 1979))); Mountain States Tel. & Tel. Co. v. FCC, 939 F.2d 1035, 1043 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (recognizing monopsony as an exception to an antitrust consumer welfare goal); Allen v. Dairy Farmers of Am., Inc., 748 F. Supp. 2d 323, 352 (D. Vt. 2010) (asserting that defendants’ “coercive acts perpetuated the monopoly and monopsony, disciplined those that sought to challenge it, cowed those who might venture a similar challenge, and produced the allegedly artificially depressed fluid raw milk prices that Plaintiffs received and which allegedly caused them injury”); In re NCAA I-A Walk-On Football Players Litig., 398 F. Supp. 2d 1144, 1151 (W.D. Wash. 2005) (finding that “[i]njury to competition can occur by monopsony just as it may result from monopoly”). As one lower court said:

This contention—questionable even in the monopoly context—certainly cannot apply to monopsony claims.

In contrast to a monopoly, in a monopsony the buyer uses its market power to damage competition among upstream market participants. In such a situation, the direct victims are competitors and suppliers rather than competitors and customers. 202White Mule Co. v. ATC Leasing Co., 540 F. Supp. 2d 869, 888 (N.D. Ohio 2008) (citations omitted).

Similarly, the U.S. antitrust agencies do not use consumer harm to screen mergers. 203See, e.g., 2010 Merger Guidelines, supra note 5, § 12, at 33 (“Nor do the Agencies evaluate the competitive effects of mergers between competing buyers strictly, or even primarily, on the basis of effects in the downstream markets in which the merging firms sell.”). The guidelines do state that efficiencies must be “sufficient to reverse the merger’s potential to harm customers in the relevant market.” Id. § 10, at 30. But assuming that this applies to mergers between buyers, a consumer-oriented efficiencies defense does not mean that the Clayton Act prohibits only mergers that harm consumers. The latter does not follow from the former, and there is no need for symmetry between the two. The efficiencies defense simply elevates the harm to consumers over potential efficiency benefits to producers in mergers; the efficiencies defense is not intended to discount the harm (or possibility of harm) to other producers arising in mergers. To dispel any uncertainty, the 2010 merger guidelines include an illegal merger that does not directly harm consumers:

Example 24: Merging Firms A and B are the only two buyers in the relevant geographic market for an agricultural product. Their merger will enhance buyer power and depress the price paid to farmers for this product, causing a transfer of wealth from farmers to the merged firm and inefficiently reducing supply. These effects can arise even if the merger will not lead to any increase in the price charged by the merged firm for its output. 204Id. § 12, at 33.

The U.S. agencies prosecute mergers to monopsony that affect solely suppliers, and not consumers:

In Cargill, the Division challenged a merger that would have created a monopsony purchaser of grain in some local markets. The merging companies, however, sold grain in world markets, in which they faced competition from many other grain sellers. Thus, even if the merged firms imposed a loss on farmers by cutting back the quantity of grain they bought from them, consumers of the merging companies would not be harmed because they had numerous other sources of supply. The harm in the upstream market, however, was sufficient to prompt the Division to challenge the merger. 205Health Report, supra note 31, ch. 6, at 19–20 (footnotes omitted); accord Complaint, United States v. Cargill, Inc., No. 1:99CV01875 (D.D.C. July 8, 1999), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/f2500/2552.pdf.

So the United States—a leading cheerleader of the consumer welfare objective—does not use consumer welfare to screen buyer-power claims. Several reasons exist.

First, the Sherman and Clayton Acts, like some other jurisdictions’ competition laws, do not identify consumer welfare as the primary objective or require the agencies and courts to use consumer welfare as a screen. 206See Int’l Competition Network, Competition Enforcement and Consumer Welfare: Setting the Agenda 2, 15 (2011) [hereinafter 2011 ICN Survey], available at http://www.internationalcompetitionnetwork.org/uploads/library/doc857.pdf (noting that 24% of the fifty-four agencies responding to the survey reported that legislation does not mention consumer welfare and 28% responded that legislation indirectly refers to consumer welfare).

Second, the U.S. legislators were concerned about buyer power’s adverse impact on sellers, apart from any injury to consumers. 207See 21 Cong. Rec. 2461 (1890) (statement of Sen. John Sherman); see also Kirkwood, supra note 194, at 2434 (discussing how “Congress also intended to stop buyers from engaging in similar anticompetitive behavior in order to exploit small sellers like farmers and ranchers”); Gregory J. Werden, Essay, Monopsony and the Sherman Act: Consumer Welfare in a New Light, 74 Antitrust L.J. 707, 714 (2007) (“The legislative history leaves no doubt that Congress intended to protect sellers victimized by trusts and other conduct within the scope of the Sherman Act’s prohibitions.”). In arguing for a federal competition law, Senator Sherman said:

These trusts and combinations are great wrongs to the people. They have invaded many of the most important branches of business. They operate with a double-edged sword. They increase beyond reason the cost of the necessaries of life and business, and they decrease the cost of the raw material, the farm products of the country. They regulate prices at their will, depress the price of what they buy and increase the price of what they sell. They aggregate to themselves great, enormous wealth by extortion which makes the people poor. Then, making this extorted wealth the means of further extortion from their unfortunate victims, the people of the United States, they pursue unmolested, unrestrained by law, their ceaseless round of peculation under the law, till they are fast producing that condition in our people in which the great mass of them are the servitors of those who have this aggregated wealth at their command. 20821 Cong. Rec. 2461 (1890) (statement of Sen. John Sherman).

Third, a consumer welfare screen produces anomalous results. If the U.S. courts required the plaintiff to prove consumer harm in cases involving buyer power, otherwise per se illegal and criminally prosecuted behavior would become per se legal. A bid-rigging cartel composed of ultimate buyers, for example, would be per se legal, while its counterpart sellers, if they colluded, would be incarcerated and fined. Not surprisingly the United States does not distinguish between buyer and seller cartels; it actively prosecutes buyer cartels without considering their impact on consumer welfare. 209OECD, supra note 1, at 247 (noting how the DOJ “brought 70 criminal cases against buyer cartels” from 1997–2006); see also Vogel v. Am. Soc’y of Appraisers, 744 F.2d 598, 601 (7th Cir. 1984) (“[B]uyer cartels, the object of which is to force the prices that suppliers charge the members of the cartel below the competitive level, are illegal per se.”); Int’l Outsourcing Servs., LLC v. Blistex, Inc., 420 F. Supp. 2d 860, 865 (N.D. Ill. 2006) (“[T]he complaint sets forth a horizontal price fixing scheme among buyers to fix the prices of an input—shipping costs for coupons—below its competitive cost. [The plaintiff’s] claim sufficiently alleges conduct prohibited per se by the Sherman Act.”).

Recent buyer-power cases, to the extent they state a specific goal, describe it as protecting suppliers from artificially low prices. 210For example, the Ninth Circuit recently quoted earlier caselaw of how “‘Congress designed the Sherman Act as a consumer welfare prescription.’” California ex rel. Harris v. Safeway, Inc., 651 F.3d 1118, 1132 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Reiter v. Sonotone Corp., 442 U.S. 330, 343 (1979)). But the court recognized that harm transcends the consumer:Congress sought to ensure that competitors not cut deals aimed at stifling competition and at permitting higher prices to be charged to consumers than would be expected in a competitive environment, or permitting lower prices to be paid to those from whom competitors bought materials than a fair market rate.Id. Judge Reinhardt, in a separate opinion, bluntly rejected the defendants’ justification that driving down their workers’ compensation was somehow a pro-competitive benefit: “The Supreme Court has made clear, however, that because antitrust law operates to correct all distortions of competition, it condemns market actors who distort competition, whether on the buyer side or seller side.” Id. at 1161 (Reinhardt, J., dissenting in part and concurring in part); see also W. Penn Allegheny Health Sys., Inc. v. UPMC, 627 F.3d 85, 105 (3d Cir. 2010) (“[P]aying [the plaintiff] artificially depressed reimbursement rates was an anticompetitive aspect of the alleged conspiracy.”). Although U.S. courts and agencies mention consumer welfare as a competition policy objective, in reality, they are more concerned about preserving competition. 211In Knevelbaard Dairies v. Kraft Foods, Inc., 232 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2000), the court rejected the argument that collusive bid rigging was somehow legal because lower consumer prices ensued. The Ninth Circuit recalled “that the central purpose of the antitrust laws, state and federal, is to preserve competition.” Id. The fact that the Supreme Court referenced at times an antitrust objective of achieving low prices did not mean that the courts should tolerate buyer cartels. Id. Instead, the Court’s central interest, explained the Ninth Circuit, is “in protecting the economic freedom of participants in the relevant market.” Id. (quoting Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 538 (1983)) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Cascades Computer Innovation LLC v. RPX Corp., No. 12-CV-01143 YGR, 2013 WL 316023, at *10 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 24, 2013) (stating that “[a]nticompetitive conduct need not harm consumers specifically in order to cause antitrust injury”). This raises other issues, including what is competition, as the term is not self-defining, and what are the goals of competition law. 212See Maurice E. Stucke, Reconsidering Competition, 81 Miss. L.J. 107, 111–20 (2011). But monopsony cases show that competition policy is principally concerned about promoting a competitive process that promotes material well-being and quality of life factors, along with political, moral, and social values.

B. Disagreement over Consumer Welfare

One can reply that the fact that the United States does not apply a consumer welfare screen does not mean the screen is undesirable. The United States simply is misguided.

As I elaborate elsewhere, consumer welfare remains one of competition policy’s most abused terms. 213Stucke, supra note 190, at 570–77. No consensus exists in the United States or globally on what consumer welfare actually means, who the consumers are, how to measure consumer welfare (if it is indeed measurable), or how to design legal standards to further this goal. 214Id. Although one recent ICN survey of its member countries found some agreement on a consumer welfare objective, 2152011 ICN Survey, supra note 206, at 14. the ICN surveys also found that most countries did “not specifically define consumer welfare and appear[ed] to have different economic understandings of the term.” 216ICN Report, supra note 191, at 9; see also 2011 ICN Survey, supra note 206, at 4. The ICN surveys suggest that the phrase “promoting consumer welfare,” provides little guidance in informing competition policy. 2172011 ICN Survey, supra note 206, at 3 (noting the “connection between consumer welfare and the practical enforcement of competition law is not always straightforward” and that “there may be a considerable gap between policy statements and practice”). A former FTC Chair concluded the same:

[T]he concept of “consumer welfare” and the principle of protecting “competition, not competitors” are so open-ended that their true meaning in practice depends on how they are applied. It is a relatively barren exercise for EU and US officials to invoke these phrases without taking the further difficult step of achieving agreement on what these phrases mean. 218William E. Kovacic, Chairman, U.S. Fed. Trade Comm’n, Competition Policy in the European Union and the United States: Convergence or Divergence? 9 (June 2, 2008), available at www.ftcgov/speeches/kovacic/080602bateswhite.pdf.

Consequently, it is illogical to advocate a consumer welfare screen given the current disagreement over what consumer welfare means, whether the agencies “examine effects on either or both of the direct customers and the final consumers,” 2192010 Merger Guidelines, supra note 5, at 2 (emphasis added). and how consumer welfare is promoted. 220See OECD, supra note 1, at 182 (noting “there is intensive discussion about what this concept really means”).

C. Risk of False Negatives Under a Consumer Welfare Screen

Even if competition authorities could overcome these obstacles, could agree on a definition of consumer welfare (say maximizing consumer surplus), and could identify the consumer whose surplus should be maximized, applying the consumer welfare screen remains problematic. Proving consumer harm is often difficult on the selling side—especially for intermediary goods. 221Stucke, supra note 190, at 573–77. Proving buyer power’s adverse impact on the ultimate consumer is even more problematic and difficult. 222See OECD, supra note 1, at 187.

A consumer welfare screen, when actually applied, gives an incomplete and distorted measure of consumer harm. Antitrust enforcers typically consider the challenged behavior’s immediate effect on prices. 2232011 ICN Survey, supra note 206, at 4; OECD, supra note 1, at 258 (describing the European Commission suggestion that a monopsony, in withholding demand and lowering output, “would also restrict sales downstream, leading to negative welfare effects as prices rise and/or quality or choice is sacrificed”). If retail prices remain unchanged (or decline), then the competition authority, under a consumer harm screen, would likely conclude that the challenged practice is competitively neutral or pro-competitive. They would not investigate further the complaints over buyer power, and would likely dismiss any non-price concerns as too tenuous or speculative. 224See De Schutter, supra note 6, at 5 (expressing concern over consumer welfare standard); Dodd & Asfaha, supra note 6, at 20.

This brings us to the fundamental difficulty in measuring consumer welfare. As subparts I.C and I.D discuss, buyer power can harm consumers, albeit indirectly. Upstream sellers are also consumers, such as farmers with less money to purchase goods. Consumer welfare is further reduced when negative externalities increase, such as when farmers with tighter margins cut corners by polluting more, engaging in less sustainable farming, allowing a more dangerous workplace, and hiring underage workers or illegal aliens.

Competition authorities generally do not consider these other harder-to-quantify harms, which may exceed the short-term benefits from lower prices. 2252011 ICN Survey, supra note 206, at 23–24. The authorities are not willfully ignorant. Rather they lack the tools to assess the short- and long-term harms arising from buyer power (e.g., less variety and innovation). 226Id. at 42–44; Stucke, supra note 190, at 574–77. Thus if a Wal-Mart depresses wages in a local community, which in turn increases the taxpayers’ costs, would that be factored in the agency’s consumer welfare screen? Unlikely.

Accordingly, given the difficulty in proving and quantifying consumer harm, the courts and agencies would use a simple, but incomplete, screen. They may simply assume that monopsony power “usually results in higher prices downstream.” 227OECD, supra note 1, at 9 (emphasis omitted). Absent evidence of supra-competitive retail prices, the court and agency would erroneously conclude that the challenged behavior is pro-competitive or competitively neutral. Their heuristic—assessing the restraint’s short-term impact on retail prices—increases the risk of false negatives. It also leaves many consumers, who are also sellers, unprotected: “If competition policy is consistently focused on the welfare of the end consumer, those suppliers disadvantaged by buyer power could now and then find themselves in a rather defenceless position.” 228Id. at 182.

D. Rule of Law Concerns of a Consumer Welfare Screen

As subpart III.C has shown, a consumer welfare screen, if narrowly applied, increases the risk of false negatives in protecting monopsonies and their abusive behavior. One risk is that courts and agencies, confronted with a monopsonist’s unfair and abusive conduct, will construe consumer welfare so loosely that it serves more as a general principle than a standard to guide the instant analysis. 229Id. In reducing rather than increasing accuracy, administrability, predictability, objectivity, and transparency, the welfare screen flunks most of the OECD’s criteria for an ideal legal test. 230OECD, Competition on the Merits, at 23, OECD Doc. DAF/COMP(2005)27 (Mar. 30, 2006), available at (the exception is applicability).

One economist stated that in most cases, “monopsony harms consumers because the distortions it creates in an input market reduce efficiency in final goods markets.” 231Noll, supra note 31, at 613. The OECD, among others, agrees. 232Brown v. Pro Football, Inc., 50 F.3d 1041, 1061 (D.C. Cir. 1995) (Wald, J., dissenting) (“So, even proceeding from the premise that antitrust laws aim only at protecting consumers, monopsonies fall under antitrust purview because monopsonistic practices will eventually adversely affect consumers.”), aff’d, 518 U.S. 231 (1996); OECD, supra note 1, at 9 (“Monopsony . . . will result in a quantity distortion and loss of efficiency in the input market that will usually harm not only upstream suppliers, but also downstream consumers.”). If true, then a consumer welfare screen is superfluous. If the court finds that the defendant is a monopsony, and if monopsony power and its willful maintenance usually harm downstream consumers, then the key issue is whether the defendant is a monopsony. The absence of direct evidence of consumer harm is not determinative if one assumes that monopsony power and its willful maintenance ultimately harm consumers. Consumers are (or will be) harmed, but the harm is not readily observable or measurable. So in finding that the defendant has sufficient buyer power to be a monopsonist and that the defendant’s behavior is capable of significantly contributing to its attaining or maintaining monopsony power, then the court or agency can conclude that consumers are somehow harmed. The screen serves no real function.

But monopsonies, while harming sellers, do not always harm consumers. Even here, courts, concerned about a monopsonist’s abusive behavior, can hypothesize a string of future events leading to consumer harm: The exercise of buyer power enables the defendant to lower its wholesale price, which significantly disadvantages the defendant’s competitors, prompts their exit from the market, lessens competition over the long term, and harms consumers. 233See OECD, supra note 1, at 11, 176 (describing this as the “spiral effect”). Alternatively, the court can rely on the waterbed effect as its theory of consumer harm: Buyer power nets lower prices or better terms for some firms but results in higher wholesale prices (or worse terms) for less powerful buyers, which in turn causes prices to increase downstream to the detriment of consumers. 234Id. at 11, 176–77; Carstensen, supra note 25, at 284.

One problem is predicting the subsequent anticompetitive consequences. A defendant may use its buyer power to raise its rivals’ costs and increase its retail price accordingly; alternatively, the defendant may lower its retail price to squeeze out its competitors and take greater profits later. So buyer power may cause retail prices in the short-term to decrease, increase, or remain unchanged. 235OECD, supra note 1, at 11 (noting that buyer power may lead “to lower downstream market prices that decrease the profitability of a buyer’s competitors, leading to their exit and an increase in its downstream market power, harming final consumers; or (ii) the lower wholesale prices obtained from this conduct by a buyer with market power results in an increase in the wholesale price to other buyers—a so-called waterbed effect—that results in an increase in prices to downstream consumers”).

Courts and agencies can plausibly find consumer harm from the exercise of buyer power in the form of less innovation, lower quality goods, and less variety. 236See, e.g., Sony Elecs., Inc. v. Soundview Techs., Inc., 157 F. Supp. 2d 180, 185 (D. Conn. 2001) (“The all-or-nothing price set by these colluding purchasers can depress the price below the optimal price that would obtain if usual market forces of supply and demand were at work. The price to consumers does not decrease, but there may be social welfare consequences in the long run, because suppliers will leave the industry (or, as Soundview has it, will cease to innovate and invent).”). With smaller margins, sellers have less incentive and ability to invest. 237OECD, supra note 1, at 177, 269–70. If the powerful buyer captures Ricardian rents from the more efficient sellers, these sellers will likely testify about their disincentive to innovate, which thereby harms downstream consumers. Agencies and courts can reasonably find that “[l]ower input prices may slow the rate of innovation and the adoption of socially desirable product improvements.” 238Id. at 260. With all-or-nothing contracts, “the inability to capture gains from innovative contributions to efficiency in production creates a disincentive to enter, expand, or innovate within the production sector.” 239Carstensen, supra note 25, at 299.

Other courts and agencies plausibly could conclude the opposite. By squeezing its suppliers and retarding innovation upstream, a monopsonist can increase the risk of being displaced by a superior innovation. 240OECD, supra note 1, at 260. Also attempts to squeeze sellers of their Ricardian rents increase the sellers’ incentives to differentiate their products and increase consumer demand for their branded product. 241See id. at 177 (noting that while “it is generally assumed that the use of buyer power reduces the suppliers’ opportunities for investment and innovation because it reduces their profits. . . . the economic literature has developed some explanations on why, under certain circumstances, buyer power can also have investment incentive effects, and thus positive welfare effects”). The prospect of smaller margins would encourage sellers to invest in innovations or advertising that lessen their dependence on powerful buyers. Moreover, a powerful buyer, if rational, would want sellers to invest in innovations that likely increase the buyer’s profits. 242Id. Or to the extent powerful buyers face rival technologies or competitors, they would not want to squeeze sellers’ margins below competitive levels. Ford, for example, would not want to squeeze its component suppliers’ margins, if doing so disadvantages Ford competitively against General Motors and Toyota.

Consequently, jurisdictions should not use consumer welfare to screen monopsony claims. Contrary to its aim, a consumer welfare screen, when applied, increases, rather than decreases, the risks and costs of false negatives. Rather than bring the monopsony legal standards closer to the rule of law, the screen promotes subjectivity, reduces predictability and transparency, and increases the difficulty for a generalist court to predict with confidence the eventual effects on consumer welfare. 243See id. at 12.

E. Behavioral Economics and Monopsony

Subparts III.C and III.D showed several practical difficulties in using consumer welfare to screen monopsony cases. The screen’s deficiencies are compounded as courts’ and agencies’ thinking evolves from the dated assumption of economic self-interest under neoclassical economic theory to the more realistic premise, namely consumers’ other-regarding behavior and concerns over fairness.

In its consumer welfare screen, the European Commission equates consumers’ welfare with the prices, services, or quality of goods consumers receive. 244The European Commission asserts:Abuses of buyer power are contrary to EC competition law where there is a proven detriment to downstream consumers.. . . EC antitrust law is not concerned with particular outcomes of contractual negotiations between parties unless such terms would have negative effects on the competitive process and ultimately reduce consumer welfare.Food Supply Chain, supra note 187, at 18. For the European Commission, this “encompasses prices, diversity and quality.” Id. No doubt price, service, and quality are important; people likely do not shop at Wal-Mart for some greater social or moral objective.

But the Commission’s assumption reveals another problem with the consumer welfare screen: One simply cannot equate consumer welfare with economic self-interest. Although consumers enjoy lower prices, it is not altogether clear that consumers are only interested about getting the lowest possible price. Consumers, if selfish, would be ambivalent about whether an Indonesian coffee grower receives a fair price for her harvest, has safe working conditions, enjoys a living wage, and has the right to organize. Consumers would not care whether the farmers’ families can “eat better, keep their kids in school, improve [their] health and housing, and invest in the future.” 245 Vision Statement, Fair Trade USA, http://fairtradeusa.org/about-fair-trade-usa/mission (last visited July 1, 2013). They would not differentiate between “Fair Trade” coffee and regular (exploited farmer) coffee. If consumers cared only about their material well-being, then companies would not devote time and resources to ensure that the upstream coffee farmers earned higher than the minimum wage, received paid sick leave, had their school-age children attending school, had not converted any natural forest habitat to coffee production areas, used organic matter or cover crops to improve or maintain soil fertility, or processed waste so as to not contaminate the local environment. 246See Coffee, Starbucks, http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/sourcing/coffee (last visited July 1, 2013). Responding to self-interested consumers, companies would require only the minimum acceptable quality inputs at the lowest possible cost. A coffee house, for example, would not pursue a goal of having all of its coffee to be third-party verified or certified (through “Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices,” “Fair Trade,” or another externally audited system) 247 Goals and Progress: Coffee Purchasing, Starbucks, http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/global-report/ethical-sourcing/coffee-purchasing (last visited June 26, 2013). when selfish consumers simply want a cheaper latte.

Consequently, for many consumers, the price they pay, the service they receive, and the quality of the goods they receive, while important, do not necessarily determine their welfare. Put simply, lowering prices does not necessarily increase consumer welfare, if many consumers know that children are exploited and the environment is harmed in order to make the item inexpensive. It is naïve, and contrary to marketplace realities, to assume that consumers’ welfare is unaffected (or enhanced) when monopsonies exploit their sellers.

Consumer welfare accordingly is broader than the prices, services, or quality of goods consumers receive. What is welfare, but “the state of doing well especially in respect to [a] good fortune, happiness, well-being, or prosperity standard.” 248Welfare, Merriam-Webster, (last visited July 1, 2013). However defined, economic definitions of welfare typically extend beyond static price competition or efficiencies to subjective well-being. 249See, e.g., John Black, A Dictionary of Economics 502 (2d ed. 2002); Economics A-Z Terms Beginning with W, Economist, http://www.economist.com/economics-a-to-z/w#node-21529313 (last visited June 26, 2013) (“Economists use it to describe the well being of an individual or society, as in ‘Are tax cuts welfare-enhancing?’”); OECD, Glossary of Industrial Organisation Economics and Competition Law, OECD 29, www.oecd.org/dataoecd/8/61/2376087.pdf (last visited June 26, 2013) (“Consumer welfare refers to the individual benefits derived from the consumption of goods and services. In theory, individual welfare is defined by an individual’s own assessment of his/her satisfaction, given prices and income.”). And promoting consumer surplus, with lower priced goods, does not necessarily promote consumers’ well-being. 250See Stucke, supra note 105.

Today fairness and other-regarding behavior are hot topics among economists. 251See, e.g., Maurice E. Stucke, Is Intent Relevant?, 8 J.L. Econ. & Pol’y 801, 822–28 (2012) (collecting some of the literature); see also Lynn A. Stout, Cultivating Conscience: How Good Laws Make Good People 238–40 (2011) (discussing how societal norms of fairness and prosocial behavior are both common in, and necessary for, a market economy); Thomas J. Horton, Unraveling the Chicago/Harvard Antitrust Double Helix: Applying Evolutionary Theory to Guard Competitors and Revive Antitrust Jury Trials, 41 U. Balt. L. Rev. 615, 653–54 (2012) (citing research on how “‘fairness evolved as a stable strategy for maintaining social harmony’ in our economic relationships” and how “[n]eurobiological studies have found that ‘the sense of fairness fundamental to distributive justice’ is rooted in humans’ emotional processing” (quoting Joan Roughgarden, The Genial Gene: Deconstructing Darwinian Selfishness 160 (2009); Michael Shermer, The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics 11 (2008))). The psychological and experimental economic data show that many people care about treating others, and being treated, fairly. 252See Moral Sentiments and Material Interests: The Foundations of Cooperation in Economic Life (Herbert Gintis et al. eds., 2005); Yochai Benkler, The Unselfish Gene, Harv. Bus. Rev., July-Aug. 2011, at 77, 79 (“In no society examined under controlled conditions have the majority of people consistently behaved selfishly.”); Ming Hsu et al., The Right and the Good: Distributive Justice and Neural Encoding of Equity and Efficiency, 320 Science 1092 (2008). Employers, for example, may not reduce wages during times of deflation as workers perceive this wage reduction as unfair, and retaliate by working less hard. Moral Sentiments and Material Interests, supra, at 3, 32. So rather than self-interest, employers appeal to fairness concerns. George A. Akerlof & Robert J. Shiller, Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism 19–25, 107–15 (2009); Daniel Kahneman et al., Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market, 76 Am. Econ. Rev. 728, 729 (1986) (“A central concept in analyzing the fairness of actions in which a firm sets the terms of future exchanges is the reference transaction, a relevant precedent that is characterized by a reference price or wage, and by a positive reference profit to the firm.”). This “strong reciprocity” in human behavior entails “a predisposition to cooperate with others and to punish those who violate the norms of cooperation, at personal cost, even when it is implausible to expect that these costs will be repaid either by others or at a later date.” 253Herbert Gintis et al., Explaining Altruistic Behavior in Humans, 24 Evolution & Hum. Behav. 153, 154 (2003). These authors argued that “the evolutionary success of our species and the moral sentiments that have led people to value freedom, equality, and representative government are predicated upon strong reciprocity and related motivations that go beyond inclusive fitness and reciprocal altruism.” Id. Likewise, in the behavioral experiments, many people care about resources being equitably distributed, not solely about resources going to those with the greater use. 254Matthew Rabin, A Perspective on Psychology and Economics, 46 Eur. Econ. Rev. 657, 665 (2002). The experiments in bargaining settings, economist Samuel Bowles summarized, systematically show “that substantial fractions of most populations adhere to moral rules, willingly give to others, and punish those who offend standards of appropriate behavior, even at a cost to themselves and with no expectation of material reward.” 255Samuel Bowles, Policies Designed for Self-Interested Citizens May Undermine “the Moral Sentiments”: Evidence from Economic Experiments, 320 Science 1605, 1606 (2008).

Jens Hainmueller of MIT and Michael J. Hiscox of Harvard recently studied consumer demand for several clothing items labeled with information about environmental and fair labor standards. 256Jens Hainmueller & Michael J. Hiscox, The Socially Conscious Consumer? Field Experimental Tests of Consumer Support for Fair Labor Standards (Mass. Inst. of Tech. Political Sci. Dep’t, Working Paper No. 2012-15, 2012), available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2062435. Their field study was conducted in 111 Banana Republic Factory Stores “located in suburban and ex-urban outlet malls that cater to price-sensitive customers looking for good deals.” 257Id. at 8. They focused on three recently introduced clothing items: $130 women’s linen suits (including a blazer, skirt, and trousers); $18 women’s yoga pants; and $12 men’s fashion t-shirts, all of which were produced in factories that complied with Gap Inc.’s social and environmental criteria. 258Id. While the price remained the same across the discount outlet stores, two different display signs promoted these items. One version emphasized “the fashion attributes of the product, the other version conveyed a message that focused instead on how the product was made and the company’s commitment to promoting fair and safe working conditions.” 259Id. at 9. For the lower-priced yoga pants and t-shirts, neither the fairness nor fashion displays had a statistically significant impact on sales. But the fairness display had a substantial positive effect on sales for the more expensive women’s linen suit. 260Id. at 11–12 (finding that “for the women’s linen suit, the fairness message increased dollar sales by about 14% on average with a .90 confidence interval of [2%; 26%] (p-value = .06) compared to sales in the control group stores where the suit was sold without a message”). As the authors found:

[E]ven in a setting in which customers are focused on prices and so are far less likely to respond to information about ethical product attributes than those in other (retail) contexts, we can identify a segment of shoppers willing to support fair labor standards by voting with their shopping dollar. 261Id. at 2.

Consumers will punish corporate behavior perceived as intentional, unfair, and motivated by greed. 262Ellen Garbarino & Sarah Maxwell, Consumer Response to Norm-Breaking Pricing Events in E-Commerce, 63 J. Bus. Res. 1066, 1067 (2010); Horton, supra note 251, at 655–56 (collecting additional studies); Thomas M. Tripp & Yany Grégoire, When Unhappy Customers Strike Back on the Internet, MIT Sloan Mgmt. Rev., Spring 2011, at 37, 43 (noting that experiment and survey results “showed that inference of motive was the key belief that drove anger and any consequent desires for revenge or reconciliation”); Lan Xia & Kent B. Monroe, Is a Good Deal Always Fair? Examining the Concepts of Transaction Value and Price Fairness, 31 J. Econ. Psychol. 884, 891 (2010). Even where consumers can economically benefit personally, many nonetheless consider whether the firm intentionally exploits others 263Garbarino & Maxwell, supra note 262, at 1067 (arguing that a pricing norm violation will likely reduce “consumers’ trust in the firm’s intention to behave in the customer’s best interest”); Stucke, supra note 251, at 834–36; Stephan M. Wagner et al., Effects of Suppliers’ Reputation on the Future of Buyer–Supplier Relationships: The Mediating Roles of Outcome Fairness and Trust, J. Supply Chain Mgmt., Apr. 2011, at 29, 32; see also Lisa E. Bolton et al., How Do Price Fairness Perceptions Differ Across Culture?, 47 J. Marketing Res. 564 (2010); Stephanie Clifford, Some Retailers Reveal Where and How That T-Shirt Is Made, N.Y. Times, May 9, 2013, at A1. and object to such exploitation. 264During the financial crisis in 2009, a majority of consumers surveyed in five (Belgium, Denmark, France, Spain, and Poland) of six European countries felt that “supermarkets should pay a price that enabled suppliers to pay their workers a fair wage, even if it resulted in consumers having to pay more.” Consumers Int’l, Checked Out: Are European Supermarkets Living Up to Their Responsibilities for Labour Conditions in the Developing World? 10 (2010), available at http://www.consumersinternational.org/media/394236/checkedout-english-02.pdf. Greek consumers were the exception: 70% agreed that retailers should “[e]nsure [the] lowest prices by paying minimum to suppliers.” Id. at 18. Some online retailers track consumer’s location, purchasing behavior, and other personal data to charge consumers with fewer options a higher price. 265Joseph Turow et al., Open to Exploitation: American Shoppers Online and Offline 8–10 (2005), available at http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1035&context=asc_papers; Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Jeremy Singer-Vine & Ashkan Soltani, Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users’ Information, Wall St. J., Dec. 24, 2012, at A1. Consumers, however, in a couple of studies objected to such price discrimination as ethically wrong, 266Turow et al., supra note 265, at 4 (finding that most people surveyed “overwhelmingly object[ed] to most forms of behavioral targeting and all forms of price discrimination as ethically wrong,” including 76% who agreed that “it would bother me to learn that other people pay less than I do for the same products,” 87% who disagreed that “it’s OK if an online store I use charges people different prices for the same products during the same hour,” and 72% who disagreed that “if a store I shop at frequently charges me lower prices than it charges other people because it wants to keep me as a customer more than it wants to keep them, that’s OK”). were less trusting of the discriminating firm, and were less willing to purchase from the firm. 267Garbarino & Maxwell, supra note 262, at 1069. Even where the study’s participants personally received a better price than others who were exploited, many still perceived the retailer as behaving unfairly, were less inclined to purchase from that retailer again, and were less willing to recommend the retailer to a friend. 268Xia & Monroe, supra note 262, at 891.

Ordinarily, other-regarding consumers, if they believe that a monopsony is exploiting its workers or suppliers, can punish the abusive behavior by taking their business elsewhere. 269Jill Gabrielle Klein et al., Why We Boycott: Consumer Motivations for Boycott Participation, J. Marketing, July 2004, at 92, 96. Indeed, Senator Sherman assumed that competition checked the selfishness of firms and their disregard of consumers’ interests. 27021 Cong. Rec. 2457 (1890). In competitive markets with many other-regarding consumers, firms would be sensitive to fairness concerns, and promote employee behavior that abided by these values. 271Wagner et al., supra note 263, at 43 (noting that to secure competitive advantage, companies, among other things, should “ensure that fairness and trust are part of the training expectations among company representatives that work face-to-face with customers”). A positive reputation can provide a competitive advantage. 272Id. at 30. We see this with consumers’ willingness to pay more for the increasing number of “Fair Trade” products. 273David Reinstein & Joon Song, Efficient Consumer Altruism and Fair Trade Products, 21 J. Econ. & Mgmt. Strategy 213, 214 (2012) (collecting some of the research showing the willingness of a “significant subset of consumers . . . to pay a premium for products labeled as ‘Fair Trade’ . . . and a preference for retailers that are seen to be more generous to their suppliers and employees, domestically and internationally”).

Consequently, the consumer welfare screen becomes less administrable and accurate when one recognizes the marketplace realities of other-regarding behavior. Every economy likely has a mix of other-regarding consumers and selfish consumers. 274See, e.g., Devesh Rustagi et al., Conditional Cooperation and Costly Monitoring Explain Success in Forest Commons Management, 330 Science 961, 962 (2010) (finding fewer altruists (15 of 679 participants) and self-interested free riders (78 participants) among forty-nine forest user groups in Ethiopia and finding that most were either other-regarding conditional cooperators (231 participants) or weak conditional cooperators (79 participants)). To the extent the agencies and courts believe that many consumers, consistent with the recent empirical economic literature, have a propensity toward fairness and willingness to punish unfairness, how then do the agencies and courts assess the welfare of other-regarding consumers? If a monopsonist exploits its workers and suppliers and if this is public knowledge, then it suggests that other-regarding consumers, like the sellers, cannot effectively punish the monopsony. Consumers may be unable to target the monopsony (like the monopsony meat packer that sells its beef along with other packers’ beef to supermarkets, who sell the beef under their private labels). Consumers may lack viable alternatives. The fact that other-regarding consumers would punish the monopsony, but cannot, suggests that their welfare was reduced.

If courts and agencies insist on a consumer welfare screen, then the screen must account for the welfare of other-regarding consumers, who value the fair treatment of others, including upstream suppliers. The consumer welfare screen, to be realistic, must assess how a monopsonist’s exploitive behavior affects consumers’ actual well-being; this further complicates the legal analysis and undermines the screen’s intended purpose of promoting transparency and objectivity.

F. Shared Value

Subpart III.E assumed fairness as demand driven: self-interested firms respond to consumer pressure to treat upstream suppliers fairly. If unchecked by consumers or competition, firms naturally would exploit their suppliers. But business professor Michael Porter and consultant Mark Kramer recently discussed fairness as a supply-driven response to yield greater profits. 275See Michael E. Porter & Mark R. Kramer, Creating Shared Value, Harv. Bus. Rev., Jan.-Feb. 2011, at 62, 77. Under the neoclassical approach, companies “commoditize and exert maximum bargaining power on suppliers to drive down prices—even when purchasing from small businesses or subsistence-level farmers.” 276Id. at 70. So the monopsonist, given the opportunity, would extract Ricardian rents from its more efficient suppliers and quasi-rents from its suppliers with lower short-run costs.

One conundrum is that exploiting one’s suppliers over the long run makes little sense. 277See, e.g., Sony Elecs., Inc. v. Soundview Techs. Inc., 157 F. Supp. 2d 180, 186 (D. Conn. 2001) (observing that although the “monopsonist purchaser’s interests are not served by reducing the numbers of suppliers, business conduct is not always rational, and economic actors do not always have access to perfect information, the utopian ideal of economics”). In extracting these rents, the monopsonist can retard investment and innovation and jeopardize its long-term competitiveness. This exploitation, Porter and Kramer explain, destroys shared value. Rather than zero-sum competition, whereby the monopsonist gains when its suppliers’ profits dwindle, they argue that greater profits can be achieved in “creating economic value . . . for society by addressing its needs and challenges” and “enhanc[ing] the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which it operates.” 278Porter & Kramer, supra note 275, at 64, 66. Under their concept of shared value, powerful buyers realize that exploiting suppliers is inconsistent with the buyers’ long-term viability and profitability. In promoting shared value, powerful buyers grasp:

[T]hat marginalized suppliers cannot remain productive or sustain, much less improve, their quality. By increasing access to inputs, sharing technology, and providing financing, companies can improve supplier quality and productivity while ensuring access to growing volume. Improving productivity will often trump lower prices. As suppliers get stronger, their environmental impact often falls dramatically, which further improves their efficiency. 279Id. at 70.

In the context of buyer power, Porter and Kramer turn to the coffee sector and its challenges of a reliable supply:

Most coffees are grown by small farmers in impoverished rural areas of Africa and Latin America, who are trapped in a cycle of low productivity, poor quality, and environmental degradation that limits production volume. To address these issues, Nestlé redesigned procurement. It worked intensively with its growers, providing advice on farming practices, guaranteeing bank loans, and helping secure inputs such as plant stock, pesticides, and fertilizers. Nestlé established local facilities to measure the quality of the coffee at the point of purchase, which allowed it to pay a premium for better beans directly to the growers and thus improve their incentives. Greater yield per hectare and higher production quality increased growers’ incomes, and the environmental impact of farms shrank. Meanwhile, Nestlé’s reliable supply of good coffee grew significantly. Shared value was created.

Embedded in the Nestlé example is a far broader insight, which is the advantage of buying from capable local suppliers. Outsourcing to other locations and countries creates transaction costs and inefficiencies that can offset lower wage and input costs. Capable local suppliers help firms avoid these costs and can reduce cycle time, increase flexibility, foster faster learning, and enable innovation. Buying local includes not only local companies but also local units of national or international companies. When firms buy locally, their suppliers can get stronger, increase their profits, hire more people, and pay better wages—all of which will benefit other businesses in the community. Shared value is created. 280Id.

Consequently, shared value, like consumers’ other-regarding behavior, can promote capitalism. Rather than fearing regulatory dictates to prevent them from exploiting suppliers (and lobbying governments on measures to promote such exploitation), 281See, e.g., Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty (2012). enlightened firms will see how profits can be attained, not through exploitation, but through collaboration and trust, and in better helping suppliers and consumers solve their problems. Sustainability, rather than a cost, provides an opportunity to improve the sellers’ and powerful buyers’ productivity and societal welfare.

Conclusion

Given the competition agencies’ interest in, and industry complaints over, monopsonies, courts should expect more antitrust challenges. When they get these monopsony cases, courts will likely hear that monopsony is the mirror image of monopoly. But as this Article contends, courts should be careful when importing monopolization standards for monopsony cases. What works for monopolization claims will not necessarily work for monopsony claims.

First, courts and agencies should not screen monopsony claims with the monopolization caselaw’s high market-share thresholds. Rather, this Article offers a simple rule of thumb for assessing monopsony claims, namely the degree of coercion. The greater the evidence that the defendant forces sellers to do things that they otherwise would not do in competitive markets, the more likely the defendant is a monopsony.

Second, courts should not require the plaintiff to prove how the monopsonist’s conduct harms consumers downstream. The plaintiff should prevail after showing that the buyer’s willful exclusionary or predatory conduct is capable of significantly contributing to its attaining or maintaining its monopsony power, even when the ultimate consumer is unaffected.

Accordingly, monopsony and buyer power reach beyond consumer surplus, and touch on fairness and economic freedom. In discussing buyer power, Japan’s senior competition official, Kazuhiko Takeshima, “emphasized the importance of fairness, adding that when fairness is excluded, it means protecting the big players.” 282OECD, supra note 1, at 191. As he indicated, “[C]ompetition law should protect the rights of the players on a level playing field as well as consumers.” 283Id.; see also C. Robert Taylor, The Many Faces of Power in the Food System, U.S. Department Just. (Feb. 17, 2004), http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/workshops/docs/202608.pdf (“[T]he central economic issues facing the food system have little to do with economic efficiency, but a lot to do with fairness and economic freedom for farmers and ranchers.”). The U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder agreed:

[T]he overriding concern we have in the Justice Department is maintaining fairness. Doesn’t mean we’re going to put our thumb on the scale. We want everybody to have a fair shot. . . . As [the Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division] indicated, you know, big is not necessarily bad, but big can be bad if the power that comes from being big is misused, and that is simply not something that this Department of Justice is going to stand for. We will use every tool that we have to ensure fairness in the marketplace. 284Public Workshops Exploring Competition Issues in Agriculture: A Dialogue on Competition Issues Facing Farmers in Today’s Agricultural Marketplace, U.S. Department Just. 56 (Mar. 12, 2010), http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/workshops/ag2010/iowa-agworkshop-transcript.pdf.

The challenge for the competition agencies is to develop the legal standards in a way that deters abuses of monopsony power, promotes consumers’ concerns of fairness, and is aligned with the rule of law.

Footnotes

*Associate Professor, University of Tennessee College of Law; Senior Fellow, American Antitrust Institute. I wish to thank for their helpful comments Adi Ayal, Peter Carstensen, Kenneth Davidson, Thomas Horton, John Kirkwood, Russell Pittman, Thomas Rosch, Robert Steiner, Henry Su, Spencer Weber Waller, and the participants of the “Buyer Power in Competition Law” symposium sponsored by the University of Oxford Centre for Competition Law & Policy. I also thank the University of Tennessee College of Law for the summer research grant.

1Org. for Econ. Co-operation & Dev. [OECD], Monopsony and Buyer Power, at 255, OECD Doc. DAF/COMP(2008)38 (Dec. 17, 2009), available at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/38/63/44445750.pdf (“Buying power is an increasingly hot topic within the competition community.”).

2Id. at 208.

3Task Force for Abuse of Superior Bargaining Position, Int’l Competition Network, ICN Special Program for Kyoto Annual Conference: Report on Abuse of Superior Bargaining Position 3 (2008), available at http://www.jftc.go.jp/en/international_relations/icn/kyoto-materials/pdf/ASBP_1.pdf.

4E.g., Am. Antitrust Inst., The Next Antitrust Agenda: The American Antitrust Institute’s Transition Report on Competition Policy to the 44th President 95 (Albert A. Foer ed., 2008) [hereinafter AAI Transition Report], available at http://www.antitrustinstitute.org/~antitrust/content/next-antitrust-agenda; Albert A. Foer, Introduction to Symposium on Buyer Power and Antitrust, 72 Antitrust L.J. 505, 505 (2005); Gregory T. Gundlach & Albert A. Foer, Buyer Power in Antitrust: An Overview of the American Antitrust Institute’s Invitational Symposium on Buyer Power, 53 Antitrust Bull. 233 (2008).

5See Peter C. Carstensen, Buyer Power and the Horizontal Merger Guidelines: Minor Progress on an Important Issue, 14 U. Pa. J. Bus. L. 775, 780 (2012). Compare DOJ & FTC, Horizontal Merger Guidelines § 0.1, at 3 (1992), available at http://www.ftc.gov/bc/docs/horizmer.shtm (noting in one short paragraph that “to assess potential monopsony concerns, the Agency will apply an analytical framework analogous to the framework of these Guidelines”), with DOJ & FTC, Horizontal Merger Guidelines §§ 8, 12 (2010) [hereinafter 2010 Merger Guidelines], available at www.justice.gov/atr/public/guidelines/hmg-2010.pdf (including an extended discussion of buyer power).

6Olivier De Schutter, Briefing Note 3, Addressing Concentration in Food Supply Chains: The Role of Competition Law in Tackling the Abuse of Buyer Power 1 (2010), available at http://www.srfood.org/index.php/en/documents-issued/briefing-notes; Aravind R. Ganesh, The Right to Food and Buyer Power, 11 German L.J. 1190, 1190 (2010); see also Liz Dodd & Samuel Asfaha, S. Ctr. & Traidcraft, Rebalancing the Supply Chain: Buyer Power, Commodities and Competition Policy 4 (2008), available at http://unctad.org/Sections/ditc_ccpb/docs/ditc_ccpb0009_en.pdf (expressing concern about the impact of buyer power on vulnerable food producers); Duncan Green, Oxfam, Conspiracy of Silence: Old and New Directions on Commodities (June 2005) (unpublished manuscript), available at http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/conspiracy-of-silence-old-and-new-directions-on-commodities-112554 (“Not only has corporate concentration diminished the slice of final retail value accruing to developing country producers, it has shifted the balance of power against small-scale farmers.”).

7See, e.g., United States v. Grinnell Corp., 384 U.S. 563, 571 (1966) (defining monopoly power as “‘the power to control prices or exclude competition,’” which “ordinarily may be inferred from the predominant share of the [relevant] market” (quoting United States v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 351 U.S. 377, 391 (1956))).

8Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Ross-Simmons Hardwood Lumber Co., 549 U.S. 312, 320 (2007) (“Monopsony power is market power on the buy side of the market. As such, a monopsony is to the buy side of the market what a monopoly is to the sell side and is sometimes colloquially called a ‘buyer’s monopoly.’” (citation omitted)).

9Oxera, Buyer Power in a Regulatory Context: Myth or Reality? 1–2 (2012), available at http://www.oxera.com/Publications/Agenda/2012/Buyer-power-in-a-regulatory-context—myth-or-reali.aspx.

10W. Penn Allegheny Health Sys., Inc. v. UPMC, 627 F.3d 85, 104 (3d Cir. 2010) (noting that monopsony in depressing reimbursement rates “tends to diminish the quality and availability of hospital services”); accord Warren S. Grimes, The Sherman Act’s Unintended Bias Against Lilliputians: Small Players’ Collective Action as a Counter to Relational Market Power, 69 Antitrust L.J. 195, 210 (2001) (“The very nature of monopsony or oligopsony power is that it tends to suppress output and reduce quality or choice.”).

11Mueller v. Wellmark, Inc., 818 N.W.2d 244, 265 (Iowa 2012).

12See, e.g., Allen v. Dairy Farmers of Am., Inc., 748 F. Supp. 2d 323, 331 (D. Vt. 2010) (describing plaintiffs’ allegation of defendants’ “unlawful creation of monopsony and monopoly power in the milk distribution system by tying up access to milk bottling plants in the Northeastern United States through unlawful exclusive supply agreements and then using that monopsony power to force independent farmers to join DFA or to market their raw milk through its marketing affiliate”); Crisis on the Farm: The State of Competition and Prospects for Sustainability in the Northeast Dairy Industry: Hearing Before the S. Comm. on the Judiciary, 111th Cong. 7 (2009) (statement of Christine Varney, Assistant Att’y Gen. for Antitrust, Department of Justice) (noting the concern among dairy producers over monopsony power, how “[p]arts of the dairy industry have experienced extensive consolidation in recent years, with fewer processors and, therefore, fewer buyers of dairy products,” and how as “a result of consolidation, the potential for an exercise of buyer power is increased”).

13See, e.g., W. Penn Allegheny Health Sys., Inc., 627 F.3d at 103–04 (describing hospital system’s suit against area’s dominant hospital system and dominant health insurer under Sherman Act and state law, and alleging that insurer had “substantial monopsony power” with medical providers having very few alternative purchasers for their services).

14OECD, supra note 1, at 20, 62, 69–71, 175, 222, 255, 261–62; DOJ, Competition and Agriculture: Voices from the Workshops on Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement in Our 21st Century Economy and Thoughts on the Way Forward 7 (2012), available at www.justice.gov/atr/public/reports/283291.pdf (describing the concern by some participants that “retailers are extracting a greater and greater share of the consumer food dollar, leaving producers with an ever decreasing share, and at the same time imposing price increases on consumers”). A trend toward monopsony on the retail level can spur concentration on the wholesale level. Carstensen, supra note 5, at 789; Timothy A. Wise & Sarah E. Trist, Buyer Power in U.S. Hog Markets: A Critical Review of the Literature 19 (Global Dev. & Env’t Inst., Working Paper No. 10-04, 2010), available at http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/Pubs/wp/10-04HogBuyerPower.pdf.

15Division Update Spring 2011, U.S. Department Just., http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/division-update/2011/ag-workshops.html (last visited July 1, 2013).

16Peter C. Carstensen, Comments for the United States Departments of Agriculture and Justice Workshops on Competition Issues in Agriculture 1–2 (Univ. of Wis. Law Sch., Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1103, 2010), available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1537191.

17Division Update Spring 2011, supra note 15.

18Id.

19DOJ, supra note 14, at 5 (internal quotation marks omitted); see also AAI Transition Report, supra note 4, at 308 (describing antitrust enforcement in the agricultural markets as “lamentable”).

20DOJ, supra note 14, at 8, 16 (recognizing “that, historically, farmers and others have voiced concern about the level of merger enforcement in the agricultural sector” and that as “a result of the workshops, the Division has redoubled its efforts to prevent anticompetitive agricultural mergers and conduct” so that “[t]he workshops have enhanced the Division’s efforts to enforce the antitrust laws”).

21Id.

22See id. at 8 (“[I]t’s the monopsony power of these concentrated purchases of farm goods that are stressing the people and the natural systems that are producing food . . . .” (internal quotation marks omitted)).

23Steve Bullock et al., Comments Regarding Competition in the Agriculture Industry, U.S. Department Just. 6 (Mar. 11, 2010), (providing comments from the attorneys general of various states).

24Lina Khan, Obama’s Game of Chicken, Wash. Monthly, Nov./Dec. 2012, at 32, 35–36.

25FTC, Horizontal Merger Investigation Data: Fiscal Years 1996–2011, at 7 tbl.1 (2013) (showing that of the 464 horizontal mergers where the FTC issued a second request, nine mergers focused on monopsony and buyer power issues); Peter C. Carstensen, Buyer Power, Competition Policy, and Antitrust: The Competitive Effects of Discrimination Among Suppliers, 53 Antitrust Bull. 271, 272 (2008) (observing how “the merger enforcement decisions by the courts and agencies have failed to appreciate the buyer power issues presented in some merger cases”).

26David Andrews, Antitrust Efforts Have Gone in Dustbin of History, Nat’l Catholic Rep. (Kansas City), Mar. 2, 2012, at 23; Khan, supra note 24, at 38 (“Worse, the administration’s silent retreat amounts to a form of moral failure. Having amply documented the outrageous abuse of fellow citizens, it decided it was not worth expending more political capital to right this wrong.”).

27In challenging an acquisition, the United States originally asked the court to divest assets sufficient to restore competition in the affected chicken processing market and to enjoin the defendant from further ownership and operation of the assets acquired as part of the transaction. Complaint at 13, United States v. George’s Foods, LLC, No. 5:11-cv-00043 (W.D. Va. May 10, 2011), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/georgefood.html. But the DOJ later settled for a behavioral remedy, namely requiring the defendant to make several capital improvements to its Harrisonburg chicken processing plant. The defendant had to (i) install an individually frozen freezer, (ii) install “a whole leg or thigh deboning line with the capacity to debone a minimum of fifty legs per minute or new automated lines with similar capacities,” and (iii) repair the processing plant’s roof. Competitive Impact Statement at 7–8, United States v. George’s Foods, LLC, No. 5:11-cv-00043 (W.D. Va. June 23, 2011), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/georgefood.html. The settlement, the DOJ asserted, was in the public interest; it significantly increased the number of chickens that George’s would process, thereby increasing the demand for grower services and averting the likely anticompetitive effects arising from the acquisition. Response of Plaintiff United States to Public Comment on the Proposed Final Judgment at 4–5, United States v. George’s Foods, LLC, No. 5:11-cv-00043 (W.D. Va. Oct. 25, 2011), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/georgefood.html. Carstensen and a former FTC official objected to both the remedy’s scope and duration. They argued that among other things the consent decree should require the DOJ to reassess the transaction’s competitive effects in three to five years and, if necessary, revise the remedy. Id. at 6–7. The DOJ rejected their concerns, expressing “confiden[ce] that the effectiveness of the proposed Final Judgment obviates the need for requiring undefined ‘additional remedies.’” Id. at 7–8.

28DOJ, supra note 14, at 23.

29Sharis A. Pozen, Acting Assistant Attorney Gen., U.S. Dep’t of Justice Antitrust Div., Developments at the Antitrust Division & the 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines—One Year Later 24 (Nov. 17, 2011), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/speeches/277488.pdf.

30See, e.g., Commission Green Paper on Unfair Trading Practices in the Business-to-Business Food and Non-Food Supply Chain in Europe, at 3–5, COM (2013) 37 final (Jan. 31, 2013) [hereinafter EC Green Paper on Unfair Trading Practices]; Tom Björkroth et al., Finnish Competition Auth., Study on Trade in Groceries: How Does Buyer Power Affect the Relations Between the Trade and Industry? 8 (Jaana Aho trans., 2012); OECD, supra note 1, at 20, 62, 69–71, 175, 222, 255, 261.

31Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Ross-Simmons Hardwood Lumber Co., 549 U.S. 312, 321–22 (2007); Todd v. Exxon Corp., 275 F.3d 191, 202 (2d Cir. 2001) (noting that because “the equation for measuring market power in monopsony is a mirror image of the relationships that create market power in a seller[,] . . . [a] greater availability of substitute buyers indicates a smaller quantum of market power on the part of the buyers in question” (citation omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted)); GMA Cover Corp. v. Saab Barracuda LLC, No. 4:10-CV-12060, 2012 WL 642739, at *6 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 8, 2012), adopted by No. 10-CV-12060, 2012 WL 639528 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 28, 2012); Sprint Nextel Corp. v. AT&T Inc., 821 F. Supp. 2d 308, 324 (D.D.C. 2011); In re Se. Milk Antitrust Litig., 801 F. Supp. 2d 705, 724 (E.D. Tenn. 2011); Addamax Corp. v. Open Software Found., Inc., 888 F. Supp. 274, 280 n.9 (D. Mass. 1995); FTC & DOJ, Improving Health Care: A Dose of Competition ch. 6, at 13 (2004) [hereinafter Health Report]; OECD, supra note 1, at 245; Marius Schwartz, Econ. Dir. of Enforcement, U.S. Dep’t of Justice Antitrust Div., Buyer Power Concerns and the Aetna-Prudential Merger (Oct. 20, 1999), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/speeches/3924.pdf (“The textbook case of monopsony is the mirror image of monopoly.”); see also OECD, supra note 1, at 256; Dennis W. Carlton & Mark Israel, Proper Treatment of Buyer Power in Merger Review, 39 Rev. Indus. Org. 127, 128 (2011); Roger G. Noll, “Buyer Power” and Economic Policy, 72 Antitrust L.J. 589, 589 (2005). But see Carstensen, supra note 25, at 273 (noting that the mantra that buyer power is the mirror image of seller power obscures the need for differentiating market power in buyer and seller situations).

32549 U.S. at 321–22.

33Id. (“‘[A]symmetric treatment of monopoly and monopsony has no basis in economic analysis’” (alteration in original) (quoting Noll, supra note 31, at 591)). The Court noted the “strikingly similar allegations” involving predatory pricing and predatory bidding. Id. Given the “general theoretical similarities of monopoly and monopsony combined with the theoretical and practical similarities of predatory pricing and predatory bidding,” the Court applied its two-pronged predatory-pricing test to predatory-bidding claims. Id. at 325. Nonetheless, the Court erred. See Roger D. Blair & Jeffrey L. Harrison, Monopsony in Law and Economics 77–78 (2010) (describing how predatory buyer can purchase other significant inputs at a competitive price so that its output price is above total cost).

3415 U.S.C. § 2 (2006).

35United States v. Microsoft Corp., 253 F.3d 34, 58 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (en banc) (per curiam).

36See, e.g., NCAA v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. of Okla., 468 U.S. 85, 107 (1984) (stating that “Congress designed the Sherman Act as a consumer welfare prescription” (quoting Reiter v. Sonotone Corp., 442 U.S. 330, 343 (1979)) (internal quotation marks omitted)). The Court in Reiter quoted Robert Bork, The Antitrust Paradox 66 (1978). 442 U.S. at 343. The problem is that Bork’s consumer welfare is concerned more with total welfare than consumers’ welfare. See Barak Y. Orbach, The Antitrust Consumer Welfare Paradox, 7 J. Competition L. & Econ. 133, 134 (2011) (observing that “academic confusion and thoughtless judicial borrowing led to the rise of a label [consumer welfare] that 30 years later has no clear meaning”); Steven C. Salop, Question: What Is the Real and Proper Antitrust Welfare Standard? Answer: The True Consumer Welfare Standard, 22 Loy. Consumer L. Rev. 336, 347 (2010) (noting the confusion over meaning of “aggregate” and “consumer” welfare standards); J. Thomas Rosch, Comm’r, FTC, The Next Challenges for Antitrust Economists 18 (July 8, 2010), available at http://www.ftc.gov/speeches/rosch/100708neraspeech.pdf (noting that many different ideas exist as to how to promote consumer welfare).

37See supra note 31 and accompanying text.

38OECD, supra note 1, at 255–56; Zhiqi Chen, Defining Buyer Power, 53 Antitrust Bull. 241, 243 (2008) (“The defining characteristic of monopsony power . . . is the depression of quantity purchased by a buyer.”); Steven C. Salop, Anticompetitive Overbuying by Power Buyers, 72 Antitrust L.J. 669, 672 (2005). The monopolist, in contrast, normally reduces its output below competitive levels to raise its service’s or product’s price above competitive levels. Glossary of Terms Used in EU Competition Policy, at 32 (July 2002) [hereinafter EC Glossary], available at (defining “monopoly”).

39OECD, supra note 1, at 256; Chen, supra note 38, at 242. The price can be competitive but provide economic rent on the supply side of the market. As Noll points out, the company has little incentive to become a monopolist if there is no consumer surplus to capture. Noll, supra note 31, at 592. “Likewise, rent is present in a market if, in the aggregate, suppliers of the product receive more revenues than are necessary to induce them to provide the quantity of goods that is sold.” Id. That is certainly true. The monopsonist (like the monopolist) appropriates wealth from the seller (customer) to itself. The more surplus to be had, the greater the potential profits.

40Noll, supra note 31, at 594. The monopsonist pays a single price per unit; it pays the same price for the first and last widget it purchases that year. See Carlton & Israel, supra note 31, at 129.

41OECD, supra note 1, at 256; Chen, supra note 38, at 243.

42Chen, supra note 38, at 241; Noll, supra note 31, at 589 (noting that the term is “rarely precisely defined”).

43EC Glossary, supra note 38, at 7.

44OECD, supra note 1, at 201 (offering the definition of “buyer power” in Korea); id. at 246 (noting the definition of “buyer power” in the United States is “the ability of a buyer to negotiate a favourable price that is nevertheless above the competitive level” (emphasis added)); id. at 256 (noting the definition of “buyer power” in the European Commission guidelines is “where a purchasing agreement accounts for a sufficiently large proportion of total volume of a purchasing market so that prices can be driven down below the competitive level” (emphasis added) (internal quotation marks omitted)).

45EC Glossary, supra note 38, at 7; see also Guidelines on the Assessment of Horizontal Mergers Under the Council Regulation on the Control of Concentrations Between Undertakings, 2004 O.J. (C 31) 6, 12 [hereinafter EC Horizontal Merger Guidelines]; International Competition Network, Unilateral Conduct Workbook Chapter 3: Assessment of Dominance 33–37 (2011) (discussing both the possibilities and limitations of countervailing customer buyer power). Mergers among buyers can yield efficiencies and lower input prices without increasing buyer power. See 2010 Merger Guidelines, supra note 5, § 12 (noting that mergers between buyers may not “enhance market power on the buying side of the market [but] can nevertheless lead to a reduction in prices paid by the merged firm, for example, by reducing transactions costs or allowing the merged firm to take advantage of volume-based discounts”). Alternatively, powerful buyers can constrain sellers from exercising market power. Id. § 8 (noting that merging parties’ ability to exercise market power is constrained “if powerful buyers have the ability and incentive to vertically integrate upstream or sponsor entry, or if the conduct or presence of large buyers undermines coordinated effects”); Michael E. Porter, The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy, Harv. Bus. Rev., Jan. 2008, at 78, 84 (observing that powerful buyers “can credibly threaten to integrate backward and produce the industry’s product themselves if vendors are too profitable”).

46EC Glossary, supra note 38, at 7–8.

47Lynn A. Hayes, Farmers’ Legal Action Grp., Inc., Issues in Litigation on Behalf of Poultry and Livestock Producers Under the Packers and Stockyards Act as Amended by the 2008 Farm Bill 1–2 (Sept. 25–26, 2009), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/workshops/ag2010/001/AGW-00067-h.pdf.

48Carstensen, supra note 25, at 277.

49Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 47; De Schutter, supra note 6, at 2; John B. Kirkwood, Powerful Buyers and Merger Enforcement, 92 B.U. L. Rev. 1485, 1498 (2012).

50See Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 43–45; Health Report, supra note 31, ch. 6, at 13–14 (“When a monopsonist reduces purchases of inputs to reduce input prices, society foregoes the production of output whose value to consumers exceeds the resource costs of associated inputs, thereby creating a welfare loss to society.”).

51EC Horizontal Merger Guidelines, supra note 45, at 11.

52See 2010 Merger Guidelines, supra note 5, § 12, at 32–33 (“The Agencies do not view a short-run reduction in the quantity purchased as the only, or best, indicator of whether a merger enhances buyer market power.”); see also Carstensen, supra note 5, at 780 (“[T]he fact that output may remain unchanged is also not necessarily a basis to conclude that the merger has no adverse effect on competition.”).

53AAI Transition Report, supra note 4, at 296 (noting the beef industry’s concentration); see In re Beef Indus. Antitrust Litig., 600 F.2d 1148, 1154 (5th Cir. 1979). Supply can be inelastic in the short term in other agricultural industries. See Allen v. Dairy Farmers of Am., Inc., No. 5:09-CV-230, 2012 WL 5844871, at *4 (D. Vt. Nov. 19, 2012) (alleging that “milk is a fungible product for which the supply is inelastic meaning that it responds slowly and insubstantially to fluctuations in price”); see also Wise & Trist, supra note 14, at 8 (“[Hog] [f]armers are particularly vulnerable to buyer power because many are selling perishable goods (e.g. live animals) or products that would require large storage capacity (e.g. several tons of corn). For hog farmers, this can be particularly problematic because they operate on very tight margins, rely on selling their animals at optimum weight, and need to bring in the next litter on a fixed schedule.”).

54Glossary of Statistical Terms, OECD, http://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=3187 (last updated Aug. 12, 2002) (defining deadweight welfare loss as “a measure of the dollar value of consumers’ surplus lost (but not transferred to producers) as a consequence of a price increase”).

55See Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 50; see also OECD, supra note 1, at 141 & nn.1–2 (discussing that buyer power “results in a decrease in the overall quantity of the input produced or supplied in a relevant market” except “where the supply curve is perfectly inelastic such that a price decrease below competitive levels does not result in a decrease in output but only a transfer” or where output deteriorates not in quantity “but rather in terms of quality”).

56Competition Bureau Can., Merger Enforcement Guidelines 32 n.47 (2011), available at http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/vwapj/cb-meg-2011-e.pdf/$FILE/cb-meg-2011-e.pdf.

57Carstensen, supra note 5, at 784 (noting the greater difficulty “for a seller to engage in arbitrage in the ways that a buyer can” which can facilitate buyers’ price discrimination among sellers).

58See Noll, supra note 31, at 593.

59See id. (describing quasi-rents as “the difference between a supplier’s total revenues and short-run total costs”).

60See id. at 593–94, 603.

61See Hayes, supra note 47 (describing a similar problem that occurs in the poultry industry); see also Wise & Trist, supra note 14, at 12 (“Generally, the terms of the contract do not guarantee income for the useful life of the equipment needed to produce hogs. Producers may gain the security of a guaranteed buyer for the animals on their farms, but that security does not extend for the life of their investments, nor their debt obligations. This leaves producers under additional pressure to accept the contract terms dictated by the packer when it comes time to renew the contract. As one poultry producer testified, ‘When you have that kind of debt load over you, of course, you’re going to choose to sign the contract. You feel that there’s no other option when you owe . . . a half a million or a million dollars.’” (alteration in original) (citation omitted)).

62See Carstensen, supra note 5, at 807; Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1497.

63See White Mule Co. v. ATC Leasing Co., 540 F. Supp. 2d 869, 890 n.14 (N.D. Ohio 2008); OECD, supra note 1, at 246 (explaining how the monopsonist can price discriminate with all-or-nothing contracts); Carstensen, supra note 5, at 795, 807; Ganesh, supra note 6, at 1216–19. As White Mule explains:An all or nothing supply case allows a monopsony buyer to purchase the maximum quantity a supplier will make available at a particular price when the supplier’s alternative is to sell nothing. In such a situation, colluding buyers—or a buyer with an exclusivity agreement—could obtain a privately optimal quantity at the supplier’s lowest price point. This is to the buyer’s benefit because, in contrast to the classic monopsony model in which the monopsonist must reduce the quantity purchased to lower prices, a monopsonist “would prefer to pay the lower price without reducing the quantity purchased.”540 F. Supp. 2d at 890 n.14 (citations omitted).

64See Carstensen, supra note 5, at 798–99 (discussing how buyers can price discriminate by shifting risk to sellers); Letter from Timothy A. Wise, Dir., Tufts Univ. Global Dev. & Env’t Inst. Research & Policy Program, to Eric Holder, Attorney Gen., Dep’t of Justice, and Tom Vilsack, Sec’y, Dep’t of Agric. 8 (Aug. 23, 2010), available at http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/Pubs/wp/GDAECommentsDOJ-USDAAugust2010.pdf (“Buyer power can affect not only the price producers receive for their products but also the conditions under which they produce, the quality of the contracts they receive for production or marketing, and the distribution of risk between the buyer and the seller.”).

65Been v. O.K. Indus., 495 F.3d 1217, 1222–23 (10th Cir. 2007) (footnote omitted). Another example is powerful retailers who require suppliers to stock the retailers’ shelves and take returns. See Catherine Nicholson & Bob Young, Consumers Int’l, The Relationship Between Supermarkets and Suppliers: What Are the Implications for Consumers? 6, 10 (2012), available at http://www.consumersinternational.org/media/1035301/consumer%20detriment%20briefing%20paper%20sept2012.pdf. On unfair practices that shift commercial risk from the retailer to the supplier, see generally EC Green Paper on Unfair Trading Practices, supra note 30, at 18–19; OECD, supra note 1, at 237; and Peter Freeman et al., U.K. Competition Comm’n, The Supply of Groceries in the UK Market Investigation 12 (2008), available at http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/assets/competitioncommission/docs/pdf/non-inquiry/rep_pub/reports/2008/fulltext/538, which found that “the principal manner in which excessive risks or unexpected costs could be transferred from grocery retailers to suppliers was through retailers making retrospective adjustments to the terms of supply” and also expressed concern that as a result of the transfer of risk “the retailer has less incentive to minimize that risk.”

66See Wise & Trist, supra note 14, at 11 (“Strict confidentiality clauses in contracts prevent growers from sharing the terms and conditions of contracts with other producers. The packer, of course, knows the terms of all the contracts it is signing, leaving farmers at a disadvantage.” (citation omitted)).

67See Dodd & Asfaha, supra note 6, at 12; Freeman et al., supra note 65, at 12 (finding that “the transfer of excessive risks or unexpected costs by grocery retailers to their suppliers is likely to lessen suppliers’ incentives to invest in new capacity, products and production processes” and “if unchecked, these practices would ultimately have a detrimental effect on consumers”); Nicholson & Young, supra note 65, at 13–14; Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1550.

68W. Penn Allegheny Health Sys., Inc. v. UPMC, 627 F.3d 85, 104 (3d Cir. 2010) (noting that the payment of depressed reimbursement rates poses the risk of reduced quality); Ariel Ezrachi & Koen de Jong, Buyer Power, Private Labels and the Welfare Consequences of Quality Erosion, 5 Eur. Competition L. Rev. 257, 258 (2012) (discussing how buyer power may pressure sellers “to sell at near loss” and degrade quality “[s]ubject to the nature of the product and to the extent that reduction in quality cannot easily be detected by the final consumer”); Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1547, 1553 (describing how buyer power reduces consumer choice); Press Release, U.S. DOJ, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Physicians Health Plan of Mid-Michigan Abandon Merger Plans 1 (Mar. 8, 2010), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/press_releases/2010/256259.pdf (alleging that Blue Care Networks of Michigan’s plan to acquire Physicians Health Plan of Mid-Michigan “would have given Blue Cross-Michigan the ability to control physician reimbursement rates in a manner that could harm the quality of health care delivered to consumers”).

69See Ganesh, supra note 6, at 1210 (stating that where the monopsonist is “also dominant in the downstream market, the welfare of end consumers will be adversely affected”); Porter, supra note 45, at 84 (“Intermediate customers gain significant bargaining power when they can influence the purchasing decisions of customers downstream. Consumer electronics retailers, jewelry retailers, and agricultural-equipment distributors are examples of distribution channels that exert a strong influence on end customers.”).

70See Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1551.

71Dodd & Asfaha, supra note 6, at 10.

72OECD, supra note 1, at 9, 234.

73De Schutter, supra note 6, at 2; Nicolas Petit, Ethiopia’s Coffee Sector: A Bitter or Better Future?, 7 J. Agrarian Change 225, 251 (2007).

74See Coffee from Around the World, Nat’l Coffee Ass’n USA, http://www.ncausa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=75 (last visited July 1, 2013); The Optimal Coffee Environment: Best Climate Conditions for Growing Coffee Beans, Coffeeresearch.org, http://www.coffeeresearch.org/agriculture/environment.htm (last visited July 1, 2013).

75See Ganesh, supra note 6, at 1196. In some countries, farmers can more readily produce other cash crops on the terrain, but the law forbids it. See Karol C. Boudreaux & Puja Ahluwalia, Cautiously Optimistic: Economic Liberalization and Reconciliation in Rwanda’s Coffee Sector, 37 Denv. J. Int’l L. & Pol’y 147, 152 (2009) (“[T]he government may have refused to modify the law because of coffee’s role as the major source of export revenue and a lack of readily available, viable substitutes.”).

76Petit, supra note 73, at 252; see also Green, supra note 6 (noting barriers to diversification in countries dependent on a small number of agricultural commodities).

77See Green, supra note 6.

78See Petit, supra note 73, at 230–31; see also Green, supra note 6 (noting how in the early 1990s coffee exporting countries earned about $10 to $12 billion in U.S. dollars, whereas retail coffee sales, mostly in large industrialized countries, were about $30 billion in U.S. dollars, and that by 2002, retail sales exceeded $70 billion in U.S. dollars, whereas coffee producing countries received only $5.5 billion in U.S. dollars).

79Green, supra note 6.

80See De Schutter, supra note 6, at 3; see also Dodd & Asfaha, supra note 6, at 10 (noting that commodity producers “continue to produce even when the market price is below their cost of production,” and attempt to “compensate for low prices by producing more, exacerbating oversupply”); Ganesh, supra note 6, at 1196 (stating that the lack of ready alternatives for coffee growers forces them to produce more when prices fall, even when the price falls below the cost of production).

81See Petit, supra note 73, at 225.

82See Charis Gresser & Sophia Tickell, Oxfam, Mugged: Poverty in Your Coffee Cup 2 (2002), available at http://www.oxfamamerica.org/files/mugged-full-report.pdf.

83OECD, supra note 1, at 9.

84See id. at 246.

85See Consol. Edison Co. of N.Y. v. FERC, 823 F.2d 630, 632 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (“During the Depression, the few pipelines that existed exerted double-edged control over the natural gas market. As both monopsonists and monopolists, the pipelines could buy and sell natural gas according to their own whims, with producers and consumers caught in the resultant squeeze, both as to price and supply.”); AAI Transition Report, supra note 4, at 283 (discussing how “consumers are paying higher and higher prices for food products because the bottlenecks in the process of moving food from the farm to the retail market have allowed processors and retailers to exploit both producers and consumers”); OECD, supra note 1, at 246; Noll, supra note 31, at 596 (“[T]he lower input price and higher output price raise the income of the monopsonist at the expense of sellers in the monopsonized market and consumers in the final goods market.”).

86See Press Release, U.S. DOJ, supra note 68, at 1.

87See id.

88See id.

89See John B. Kirkwood, Buyer Power and Exclusionary Conduct: Should Brooke Group Set the Standards for Buyer-Induced Price Discrimination and Predatory Bidding?, 72 Antitrust L.J. 625, 648–49 (2005).

90See id.; see also Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1546–47.

91See Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1537–43 (explaining the principle of “raising rivals’ costs”).

92See Paul W. Dobson & Roman Inderst, The Waterbed Effect: Where Buying and Selling Power Come Together, 2008 Wis. L. Rev. 331, 333 (describing the “waterbed effect” where “better supply terms for powerful buyers . . . lead to a worsening of the terms of supply for smaller or otherwise-less-powerful buyers, which might then have an adverse consequence for consumers if downstream competition is lessened”).

93See EC Horizontal Merger Guidelines, supra note 45, at 11 (“Competition in the downstream markets could also be adversely affected if, in particular, the merged entity were likely to use its buyer power vis-à-vis its suppliers to foreclose its rivals.”).

94E-mail from Patrick Kilsdonk to ATR-Agricultural Workshops (Dec. 29, 2009, 9:07 AM), available at www.justice.gov/atr/public/workshops/ag2010/comments/255233.pdf; see also Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 81 (discussing inelasticity of supply for perishable goods); cf. Health Report, supra note 31, ch. 6, at 16 (“Seller switching costs for physicians can be significant because: (1) a physician’s time is perishable and (2) it can be difficult for a physician to quickly replace lost patients.”).

95Cf. Carstensen, supra note 25, at 278.

96See OECD, supra note 1, at 246.

97As Jack Kirkwood reminded me:That assumes the other packers are as efficient as the monopsonist and have the excess capacity to make up the lost output at a marginal cost below the market price. That could happen, but it would not be common. It assumes that supply is perfectly elastic in this marketthat any increase in price will immediately provoke a compensating increase in supply.Memorandum from Jack Kirkwood to author (July 31, 2012) (on file with author).

98See Carlton & Israel, supra note 31, at 129 n.5; see also Noll, supra note 31, at 595–96.

99Cf. Carlton & Israel, supra note 31, at 129 n.5.

100See OECD, supra note 1, at 144 (observing “that an output decrease in response to monopsony power in one relevant upstream market that results in output increases in other relevant upstream markets is typically the result of inefficient substitution towards less efficient producers”).

101See Noll, supra note 31, at 595.

102See id. at 593 (discussing the effects of monopsony on Ricardian rents and quasi-rents).

103Cf. Dan Fesperman & Kate Shatzkin, The Plucking of the American Chicken Farmer, Balt. Sun, Feb. 28, 1999, at 1A (“A new chicken farmer today can expect an annual net income of only $8,160about half the poverty level for a family of fouruntil he has paid off the 15-year loan he took to get into the business, and even that estimate may be overly optimistic. Fewer than half of Delmarva’s chicken farmers say they’re making enough to meet expenses.”).

104OECD, supra note 1, at 246.

105Maurice E. Stucke, Should Competition Policy Promote Happiness?, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2575 (2013).

106Maurice E. Stucke, Should the Government Prosecute Monopolies?, 2009 U. Ill. L. Rev. 497, 527–29 (discussing the ethical concerns of monopolies).

107See, e.g., Case of Monopolies, (1602) 77 Eng. Rep. 1260 (K.B.) 1263.

108OECD, Framework for an OECD Strategy on Development 3 (2011).

109Case of Monopolies, 77 Eng. Rep. at 1263.

110Id.; see also Mitchel v. Reynolds, (1711) 24 Eng. Rep. 347 (Ch.) 350 (explaining that monopolies deprive the public of useful members).

111United States v. Addyston Pipe & Steel Co., 85 F. 271, 280 (6th Cir. 1898) (quoting Alger v. Thacher, 36 Mass. (19 Pick.) 51, 54 (1837)), aff’d as modified, 175 U.S. 211 (1899).

112See Charles A. Ramsay Co. v. Associated Bill Posters, 260 U.S. 501, 512 (1923) (stating that competition laws “secure equality of opportunity and . . . protect the public against evils commonly incident to destruction of competition through monopolies and combinations in restraint of trade”); United States v. Aluminum Co. of Am., 148 F.2d 416, 427 (2d Cir. 1945) (stating that “[i]t is possible, because of its indirect social or moral effect, to prefer a system of small producers, each dependent for his success upon his own skill and character, to one in which the great mass of those engaged must accept the direction of a few”); De Schutter, supra note 6, at 4; Harlan M. Blake & William K. Jones, In Defense of Antitrust, 65 Colum. L. Rev. 377, 384 (1965) (observing that antitrust laws aimed “to expand the range of consumer choice and entrepreneurial opportunity by encouraging the formation of markets of numerous buyers and sellers, assuring ease of entry to such markets, and protecting participants—particularly small businessmen—against exclusionary practices”). The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa recently quoted Justice Douglas:Industrial power should be decentralized. It should be scattered into many hands so that the fortunes of the people will not be dependent on the whim or caprice, the political prejudices, the emotional stability of a few self-appointed men. The fact that they are not vicious men but respectable and social minded is irrelevant. That is the philosophy and the command of the Sherman Act.United States v. Vandebrake, 771 F. Supp. 2d 961, 1000–01 (N.D. Iowa 2011) (quoting United States v. Columbia Steel Co., 334 U.S. 495, 536 (1948) (Douglas, J., dissenting)), aff’d, 679 F.3d 1030 (8th Cir. 2012).

113Christine A. Varney, Assistant Attorney Gen., U.S. Dep’t of Justice Antitrust Div., Joint DOJ and USDA Agriculture Workshops: Concluding Remarks (Dec. 8, 2010), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/speeches/264911.pdf.

114See Stephan J. Goetz & Hema Swaminathan, Wal-Mart and County-Wide Poverty 11–12 (AERS, Staff Paper No. 371, 2004), available at http://aers.psu.edu/research/centers/cecd/research/wal-mart-and-county-wide-poverty/full-study/view (suggesting that the Wal-Mart chain, through paying lower wages, creates costs to taxpayers in the form of greater local poverty than would occur absent local Wal-Mart stores).

115See De Schutter, supra note 6, at 2 (noting how small-hold cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire resorted to child labor); see also Green, supra note 6 (“In some commodities such as bananas, palm oil and tea, NGOs claim that the downward pressure on prices has triggered a ‘race to the bottom’ in wages and working conditions on plantations, including casualisation of labour, the use of child labour, increased workloads, reduced benefits such as health provision, schooling and housing.”).

116Gresser & Tickell, supra note 82, at 2.

117See Ganesh, supra note 6, at 1229–30.

118Monopsonies can promote the environment. If manufacturing widgets significantly degrades the environment, then the monopsonies, in demanding fewer widgets, can reduce the environmental toll. But monopsonies can also pose significant environmental risks that undermine sustainable development. Their downward pressure on the sellers’ price increases the risks of negative externalities. To reduce their costs, more farmers, for example, dispense waste without the necessary precautions. See De Schutter, supra note 6, at 2. Sustainability and environmental concerns of increased soil erosion, reduced biodiversity, deforestation, and water, soil, and air pollution arise. See Green, supra note 6 (manuscript at tbl.2); see also Petit, supra note 73, at 253 (describing environmental degradation in Ethiopia); Declaration of the European Parliament on Investigating and Remedying Abuse of Power by Large Supermarkets Operating in the European Union, Eur. Parliament (Feb. 19, 2008), http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?reference=P6_TA%282008%290054&language=EN (declaring that powerful retailers’ buyer power has “negative knock-on effects on both quality of employment and environmental protection”).

119OECD, supra note 108, at 3 (emphasizing how “[n]ew sources of growth must be created to ensure a strong, jobs-rich and greener world economy”); see also Commission Report on Competition Policy 2010, at 7, 11, COM (2011) 328 final (Oct. 6, 2011) (“At the same time, competition policy has supported the main objectives of the Union as set out in the Treaties: a competitive market, economic, social and territorial cohesion and sustainable development.”).

120OECD, supra note 1, at 10. The U.K. Competition Commission, for example, has twice investigated the grocery market. Antony Seely, Supermarkets: Competition Inquiries into the Groceries Market 1 (2012), available at . Its first inquiry, completed in 2000, resulted in a “Code of Practice” to regulate the relationship between the largest supermarkets and their suppliers. Id. “However, the [Office of Fair Trading] received many complaints that the Code was not preventing supermarkets exploiting some of their suppliers, and putting many small shops out of business.” Id. In 2008:[T]he Commission completed its inquiry, concluding that in many respects UK grocery retailers were “delivering a good deal for consumers” but that action was “needed to improve competition in local markets and to address relationships between retailers and their suppliers,” including a strengthened and revised Code of Practice, to be enforced by an independent ombudsman.Id.

121OECD, supra note 1, at 192–96, 203–04 (describing Japan’s Antimonopoly Act and Korea’s Fair Subcontract Transaction Act). The Chairman of the Japan Fair Trade Commission “emphasized the importance of fairness . . . . [and] indicated his view that competition law should protect the rights of the players on a level playing field as well as consumers.” Id. at 191. The country’s laws address common complaints by specifically prohibiting powerful retailers from engaging in acts such as the unjust return of goods, unjust price reductions (after purchasing the product), and unjust assignment of work to employees of suppliers. Id. at 194–95. Similarly, the primary purpose of the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, 7 U.S.C. §§ 181–229 (2012), was “to assure fair competition and fair trade practices in livestock marketing and in the meatpacking industry.” Schumacher v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., 434 F. Supp. 2d 748, 751 (D.S.D. 2006) (quoting H.R. Rep. No. 85-1048 (1957)) (internal quotation marks omitted).

122Sprint Nextel Corp. v. AT&T Inc., 821 F. Supp. 2d 308, 327 (D.D.C. 2011); United States v. Aetna, Inc., No. 3-99 CV 1398-H, 1999 WL 1419046, at *15 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 7, 1999) (“Aetna’s acquisition of Prudential will also consolidate its purchasing power over physicians’ services in Houston and Dallas, enabling the merged entity to unduly reduce the rates paid for those services.”); Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1513.

123See, e.g., Klor’s, Inc. v. Broadway-Hale Stores, Inc., 359 U.S. 207, 209 (1959) (discussing a retailer using “its ‘monopolistic’ buying power to bring about” an illegal group boycott); Sony Elecs., Inc. v. Soundview Techs., Inc., 157 F. Supp. 2d 180, 187–88 (D. Conn. 2001); Gould v. Control Laser Corp., 462 F. Supp. 685, 691–92 (M.D. Fla. 1978) (declining to dismiss complaint alleging concerted refusal to buy; observing that an agreement not to take a license except under terms agreed by the group “unquestionably restrained the freedom of each group member to act as an individual producer in the laser market, free to contract or not contract with whom it chooses”; and concluding that “competitive consequences of such collaborative decision making cannot be determined on the basis of the pleadings”).

12415 U.S.C. § 2 (2006).

125United States v. Trenton Potteries Co., 273 U.S. 392, 397 (1927) (“[W]hatever difference of opinion there may be among economists as to the social and economic desirability of an unrestrained competitive system, it cannot be doubted that the Sherman Law and the judicial decisions interpreting it are based upon the assumption that the public interest is best protected from the evils of monopoly and price control by the maintenance of competition.”); see also United States v. Von’s Grocery Co., 384 U.S. 270, 274 (1966) (“From this country’s beginning there has been an abiding and widespread fear of the evils which flow from monopoly—that is the concentration of economic power in the hands of a few.”); United States v. Line Material Co., 333 U.S. 287, 309 (1948) (“Monopoly is a protean threat to fair prices.”); United States v. Se. Underwriters Ass’n, 322 U.S. 533, 553–54 (1944) (“‘Trusts’ and ‘monopolies’ were the terror of the period. Their power to fix prices, to restrict production, to crush small independent traders, and to concentrate large power in the few to the detriment of the many, were but some of numerous evils ascribed to them.” (footnote omitted)); United States v. Am. Linseed Oil Co., 262 U.S. 371, 388 (1923) (“The Sherman Act was intended to secure equality of opportunity and to protect the public against evils commonly incident to monopolies and those abnormal contracts and combinations which tend directly to suppress the conflict for advantage called competition—the play of the contending forces ordinarily engendered by an honest desire for gain.”); Charles A. Ramsay Co. v. Associated Bill Posters, 260 U.S. 501, 512 (1923) (“The fundamental purpose of the Sherman Act was to secure equality of opportunity and to protect the public against evils commonly incident to destruction of competition through monopolies and combinations in restraint of trade.”).

126United States v. Grinnell Corp., 384 U.S. 563, 570 (1966); see also In re Se. Milk Antitrust Litig., 801 F. Supp. 2d 705, 724 (E.D. Tenn. 2011) (setting out the same elements for monopsony claim under § 2 of the Sherman Act). A defendant, while lacking monopsony power, can still be liable under § 2 for attempting to monopsonize the market. See, e.g., M & M Med. Supplies & Serv., Inc. v. Pleasant Valley Hosp., Inc., 981 F.2d 160, 168 (4th Cir. 1992) (en banc) (observing that “[c]ompelling evidence of an intent to monopolize or of anticompetitive conduct reduces the level of market share that need be shown” for an attempt claim).

127Eastman Kodak Co. v. Image Technical Servs., Inc., 504 U.S. 451, 481 (1992) (“Monopoly power under § 2 [of the Sherman Act] requires, of course, something greater than market power under § 1.”); EC Horizontal Merger Guidelines, supra note 45, at 5 (noting that both suppliers and buyers can have market power, but, for clarity, using “market power” to refer to a supplier’s market power and “buyer power” to refer to a buyer’s market power).

128Remarks on Single Firm Conduct, 15 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 1205, 1210 (2008). Dennis Carlton, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economic Analysis, noted the difficulty in making this distinction: “I mean, you can say that monopoly power is a lot of market power, but then what do you mean by a lot? And it’s not a very precise distinction and that can cloud issues.” Id.

129Broadcom Corp. v. Qualcomm Inc., 501 F.3d 297, 307 (3d Cir. 2007) (“The existence of monopoly power may be proven through direct evidence of supracompetitive prices and restricted output.”).

130OECD, supra note 1, at 34 (“In rare instances, when a firm has already exercised monopsony power, there might be direct evidence of its exercise.”); see also United States v. Microsoft Corp., 253 F.3d 34, 51 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (en banc) (per curiam) (observing that because direct proof of monopoly power is “rarely available, courts more typically examine market structure in search of circumstantial evidence of monopoly power”). The D.C. Circuit also declined to adopt a rule requiring direct evidence to show monopoly power in any market. Id. at 57. One reason is that rarely is there a line that clearly demarcates what a defendant would or would not do if it possessed (or lacked) monopoly or monopsony power. Id.

131OECD, supra note 1, at 176.

132See, e.g., Microsoft, 253 F.3d at 51; ABA Section of Antitrust Law, Antitrust Law Developments 229 (6th ed. 2007).

133See Smith Wholesale Co. v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 219 F. App’x 398, 409 (6th Cir. 2007) (56% market share insufficient); Fineman v. Armstrong World Indus., Inc., 980 F.2d 171, 201 (3d Cir. 1992) (55% share insufficient); Arthur S. Langenderfer, Inc. v. S.E. Johnson Co., 917 F.2d 1413, 1430–31, 1443 (6th Cir. 1990) (finding 19%–29% market shares insufficient and noting that “[t]here is substantial merit in a presumption that market shares below 50 or 60 percent do not constitute monopoly power” (internal quotation marks omitted)); Colo. Interstate Gas Co. v. Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of Am., 885 F.2d 683, 694 n.18 (10th Cir. 1989); United States v. Aluminum Co. of Am., 148 F.2d 416, 424 (2d Cir. 1945) (observing that “it is doubtful whether sixty or sixty-four percent” is sufficient “and certainly thirty-three per cent is not”); In re Se. Milk Antitrust Litig., 801 F. Supp. 2d 705, 725 (E.D. Tenn. 2011) (noting that Byars v. Bluff City News Co., 609 F.2d 843, 850 (6th Cir. 1979), found that “75–80 percent or greater is a ‘starting point’ in assessing monopoly power”); R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Philip Morris Inc., 199 F. Supp. 2d 362, 394 (M.D.N.C. 2002) (“Seventy to seventy-five per cent is generally considered the minimum market share necessary to support a finding of monopoly power.”), aff’d sub nom. RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 67 F. App’x 810 (4th Cir. 2003); ABA Section of Antitrust Law, supra note 132, at 231–32 (“[C]ourts virtually never find monopoly power when market share is less than about 50 percent.”); 3 Phillip Areeda & Donald Turner, Antitrust Law: An Analysis of Antitrust Principles and Their Application ¶ 803 (1978) (“While the Supreme Court has refused to specify a minimum market share necessary to indicate a defendant has monopoly power, lower courts generally require a minimum market share of between 70% and 80%.”). But see Reazin v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kan., Inc., 899 F.2d 951, 968 (10th Cir. 1990) (“[M]arket share percentages may give rise to presumptions, but will rarely conclusively establish or eliminate market or monopoly power.”); Broadway Delivery Corp. v. United Parcel Serv. of Am., 651 F.2d 122, 128 (2d Cir. 1981) (stating that “exclusive focus on market share percentages can produce a distorted picture of market power”); Kolon Indus., Inc. v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., No. 3:11cv622, 2012 WL 1155218, at *11 (E.D. Va. Apr. 5, 2012) (considering besides market share defendant’s “ability to maintain power over pricing and competition ‘for a significant period without erosion by new entry or expansion’” (quoting 2B Phillip E. Areeda et al., Antitrust Law ¶ 501, at 111 (3d ed. 2007))).

134In re Se. Milk Antitrust Litig., 801 F. Supp. 2d at 727.

135Commission Guidelines on Vertical Restraints, at 28, SEC (2010) 411 (emphasis omitted), available at http://ec.europa.eu/competition/antitrust/legislation/guidelines_vertical_en.pdf.

136Id. at 9–10.

137See AAI Transition Report, supra note 4, at 292–94 (providing an example of the monopoly/monopsony market-share distinction in the pork industry); Carstensen, supra note 25, at 295–96 (providing several recent cases in which the retailers needed relatively modest market shares to exercise significant buyer power over their suppliers compared to the larger market shares required in monopoly cases); Kirkwood, supra note 49, at 1515–18 (explaining that “coordinated monopsony pricing may occur at lower concentration levels, or be easier to sustain at moderate concentration levels, than coordinated supracompetitive pricing”).

138Carstensen, supra note 25, at 295.

139221 F.3d 928, 937 (7th Cir. 2000).

140Id.

141Id.

142Id.

143Health Report, supra note 31, ch. 6, at 17.

144Id.

145Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 60–61; see also Cory S. Capps, Buyer Power in Health Plan Mergers, 6 J. Competition L. & Econ. 375, 382–83 (2010) (discussing how assessing buyer power in health insurance cases on the basis of shares of patients may understate the risk of harm, given the difference in reimbursement levels from commercially insured patients and Medicare and Medicaid patients); Ganesh, supra note 6, at 1223 (arguing that the de minimis market-share threshold of 15% set by the European Commission’s 2010 vertical restraints guidelines is inadequate based on a 2000 finding that U.K. grocery retailers with as little as 8% of the total market had substantial buyer power over sellers).

146Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 58.

147Health Report, supra note 31, ch. 6, at 15 (noting that the key factor in “defining monopsony product and geographic markets” is “whether the buyers of the input in the putative market successfully would be able to lower the price they pay for the input or whether, instead, the sellers have sufficient realistic alternatives to allow them to circumvent the price decrease”).

148Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 58.

149Carstensen, supra note 25, at 278; see also Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 59 (explaining that buyer power declines with increases in the elasticity of fringe demand); 2010 Merger Guidelines, supra note 5, at 32–33 (“In defining relevant markets, the Agencies focus on the alternatives available to sellers in the face of a decrease in the price paid by a hypothetical monopsonist.”).

150If “the equation for measuring market power in monopsony is a mirror image of the relationships that create market power in a seller,” then a “greater availability of substitute buyers indicates a smaller quantum of market power on the part of the buyers in question.” Sprint Nextel Corp. v. AT&T Inc., 821 F. Supp. 2d 308, 324 (D.D.C. 2011) (quoting Todd v. Exxon Corp., 275 F.3d 191, 202 (2d Cir. 2001)) (internal quotation marks omitted).

151Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 58–59.

1522010 Merger Guidelines, supra note 5, at 33 (“Market power on the buying side of the market is not a significant concern if suppliers have numerous attractive outlets for their goods or services.”).

153Oxera, supra note 9, at 2; see also Adams v. Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., No. 2:09-CV-397, 2011 WL 5330301, at *2 (E.D. Tex. Sept. 30, 2011) (noting that a chicken “grower without a buyer for its services is more economically vulnerable than an employee of an integrator [because] [t]he independent grower, unlike an employee who works for a poultry complex, has incurred the expense of constructing or purchasing physical facilities beneficial to only the integrator in exchange for compensation for grower services”).

154See Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 60–61 (demonstrating that depending on the values of data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAcAAAAQCAIAAABV4/KnAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAlwSFlzAAAS dAAAEnQB3mYfeAAAAIdJREFUKFNj/P//PwMGYMIUAorQSpTh/+0JVgwMVhNu/9+WBrY5bdv//0wT uxkWbks7tireekPAf5DMlVt3GBiA7gWpBikGAqAoSC1QFCQIYkLkwdJAUag8kuB/JobtG2ZZaamC Lbp97ZiOmgqIBdYJATD9QDcgwuHO1lUwpUhqEeb/Z8QakgBQAXVWUMDyIgAAAABJRU5ErkJggk== and data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAYAAAAQCAIAAAC6IZmZAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAlwSFlzAAAS dAAAEnQB3mYfeAAAAE9JREFUKFOtj8ENACAMAqtjOVDncZou4zAINproW37AkaYFgN2qj6f9GRkv YvR2rngoYtL6ULe0KCBcWBaWK48DMSKwg3BxHOZIyqp8/HEC8xxKmQPDfGEAAAAASUVORK5CYIJ= , an industry with a lower market share can actually have greater buyer power).

155Complaint, supra note 27, at 2.

156Id. at 2–3.

157Id. at 3.

158Competitive Impact Statement, supra note 27, at 6 (“[I]n short, the Transaction would lead George’s to exercise monopsony power.”).

159See id.

16015 U.S.C. § 18 (2006) (emphasis added).

161See Complaint, supra note 27, at 11–13.

162Id. at 7–8.

163See id. at 4, 11.

164Id.

165Id. at 12.

166Id.

167Id. at 4.

168See, e.g., Chem-Nuclear Sys., Inc. v. Waste Mgmt., Inc., No. C82-812C, 1982 WL 1320, at *2 (W.D. Wash. July 16, 1982) (“The critical battle in antitrust litigation is often the definition of the product market. And it is standard practice for a party asserting an antitrust claim to try to define the relevant market as narrowly as possible and for the Defendant to define it as broadly as possible.”); cf. Leegin Creative Leather Prods., Inc. v. PSKS, Inc., 551 U.S. 877, 917 (2007) (Breyer, J., dissenting) (“The Court’s invitation to consider the existence of ‘market power,’ for example, invites lengthy time-consuming argument among competing experts, as they seek to apply abstract, highly technical, criteria to often ill-defined markets.” (citation omitted)).

169See, e.g., Carstensen, supra note 5, at 786–87 (discussing why high-volume retailers have significant leverage over their suppliers).

170Conwood Co. v. U.S. Tobacco Co., 290 F.3d 768, 776–77 (6th Cir. 2002) (relying on expert testimony that “many retailers consider moist snuff a small category and give it little attention,” and as a result delegate “category management responsibilities to a [moist snuff] manufacturer”).

171Health Report, supra note 31, ch. 6, at 18.

172Blair & Harrison, supra note 33, at 66.

173See id. at 64–67.

174In re Se. Milk Antitrust Litig., 801 F. Supp. 2d 705, 727 (E.D. Tenn. 2011).

175Eastman Kodak Co. v. Image Technical Servs., Inc., 504 U.S. 451, 464 (1992).

176Id. (quoting Jefferson Parish Hosp. Dist. No. 2 v. Hyde, 466 U.S. 2, 14 (1984)).

177Richard M. Steuer, The Simplicity of Antitrust Law, 14 U. Pa. J. Bus. L. 543, 543 (2012) (“Properly applied, antitrust law focuses simply, and entirely, on combating two of the most innate proclivities in human nature—bullying and ganging up—when such conduct harms competition.”).

178United States v. Grinnell Corp., 384 U.S. 563, 570–71 (1966).

179Cf. Aspen Skiing Co. v. Aspen Highlands Skiing Corp., 472 U.S. 585, 605 (1985).

180As this Article discusses, monopsony is not the mirror image of monopoly. So one can also expect unique monopsonization theories, such as “naked overbuying,” where the defendant raises its rivals’ costs by purchasing (or manipulating the purchase price of) an input that its rivals, but not the defendant, use in their production process. See Salop, supra note 38, at 683–84 (raising and discussing naked overbuying).

181See, e.g., Phillips Getschow Co. v. Green Bay Brown Cnty. Prof’l Football Stadium Dist., 270 F. Supp. 2d 1043, 1047–48 (E.D. Wis. 2003) (“As the antitrust laws protect competition rather than competitors, whether the injury to a competitor is really antitrust injury often may be ascertained by looking for related harm to consumers. The antitrust injury doctrine essentially requires a plaintiff to show that its loss comes from acts that reduce output or raise prices to consumers.”). But the Seventh Circuit rejected the notion that antitrust injury always relies on a showing of consumer harm:We have found no case (and none has been cited to us) in which the Supreme Court has put the burden on a plaintiff to isolate and demonstrate the consumer impact of a particular purported antitrust violation not directed at the consumer level. While antitrust law may be moving in the direction of being construed as a “pure” consumer protection measure, cases such as Otter Tail strongly suggest that in the natural monopoly area, at least, the Supreme Court has not embraced this approach. The Court has instead stressed that the antitrust laws seek to protect competition, as well as to protect those activities that will promote competition. The antitrust laws are concerned with the competitive process, and their application does not depend in each particular case upon the ultimate demonstrable consumer effect. A healthy and unimpaired competitive process is presumed to be in the consumer interest.Fishman v. Estate of Wirtz, 807 F.2d 520, 536 (7th Cir. 1986) (footnotes omitted) (citations omitted).

182See, e.g., Kamine/Besicorp Allegany L.P. v. Rochester Gas & Elec. Corp., 908 F. Supp. 1194, 1203 (W.D.N.Y. 1995) (“The problem with this type of monopsony power, then, is that ultimately it can injure consumers by forcing up the price of the end product. Where the risk of that happening is slight or nonexistent, however, monopsony power per se does not create an antitrust concern.”).

183OECD, supra note 1, at 175.

184Id. at 9–10, 306.

185See id. at 10.

186Id. at 9 (emphasis omitted).

187Id. at 255; see also Commission Staff Working Document on Competition in the Food Supply Chain, at 18, SEC (2009) 1449 (Oct. 28, 2009) [hereinafter Food Supply Chain] (“Abuses of buyer power are contrary to EC competition law where there is a proven detriment to downstream consumers.”).

188OECD, supra note 1, at 9–10, 306–07.

189John D. Shively, When Does Buyer Power Become Monopsony Pricing?, Antitrust Mag., Fall 2012, at 87.

190See J. Thomas Rosch, Monopsony and the Meaning of “Consumer Welfare”: A Closer Look at Weyerhaeuser, 2007 Colum. Bus. L. Rev. 353, 35354; Maurice E. Stucke, Reconsidering Antitrust’s Goals, 53 B.C. L. Rev. 551, 570–71 (2012).

191See Unilateral Conduct Working Grp., Int’l Competition Network, Report on the Objectives of Unilateral Conduct Laws, Assessment of Dominance/Substantial Market Power, and State-Created Monopolies 9 (2007) [hereinafter ICN Report], available at http://www.internationalcompetitionnetwork.org/uploads/library/doc353.pdf. Consumer welfare was the second most popular antitrust goal, trailing the goal of ensuring an effective competitive process, and ahead of the goals of maximizing efficiency and ensuring economic freedom. Id. at 2.

192Commission Report on Competition Policy 2010, supra note 119, at 5.

193See, e.g., Brooke Grp. Ltd. v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 509 U.S. 209, 221 (1993) (noting “the antitrust laws’ traditional concern for consumer welfare and price competition”); NCAA v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. of Okla., 468 U.S. 85, 107 (1984) (“Congress designed the Sherman Act as a ‘consumer welfare prescription.’” (quoting Reiter v. Sonotone Corp., 442 U.S. 330, 343 (1979))); Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 538 (1983) (observing that antitrust laws “assure customers the benefits of price competition”); Broadcom Corp. v. Qualcomm Inc., 501 F.3d 297, 308 (3d Cir. 2007) (noting the “primary goal of antitrust law is to maximize consumer welfare by promoting competition among firms”); L.A.P.D., Inc. v. Gen. Elec. Corp., 132 F.3d 402, 404 (7th Cir. 1997) (“Antitrust law is designed to protect consumers from the higher prices—and society from the reduction in allocative efficiency—that occurs when firms with market power curtail output.”); Rebel Oil Co. v. Atl. Richfield Co., 51 F.3d 1421, 1444–45 & n.15 (9th Cir. 1995) (characterizing allocative efficiency as synonymous with consumer welfare and as “the central goal of the Sherman Act”); J. Allen Ramey, M.D., Inc. v. Pac. Found. for Med. Care, 999 F. Supp. 1355, 1364 (S.D. Cal. 1998); Ginzburg v. Mem’l Healthcare Sys., Inc., 993 F. Supp. 998, 1015 (S.D. Tex. 1997) (noting the “purpose of antitrust law is the promotion of consumer welfare” (quoting Reazin v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kan., Inc., 899 F.2d 951, 960 (10th Cir. 1990)) (internal quotation marks omitted)).

194Scholars, as one recent symposium on the goals of competition law reveals, continue to debate after Robert H. Bork’s influential book, The Antitrust Paradox: A Policy at War with Itself (1978), over antitrust’s goals. Even among those who advocate an economic welfare objective, it is unsettled whether welfare should reflect consumer welfare or total welfare, what those terms mean, and the extent to which it makes any difference. See, e.g., Roger D. Blair & D. Daniel Sokol, Welfare Standards in U.S. and E.U. Antitrust Enforcement, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2497, 2499 (2013) (arguing that “total welfare rather than consumer welfare . . . should drive antitrust analysis”); Herbert Hovenkamp, Implementing Antitrust’s Welfare Goals, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2471, 2471 (2013) (“One welfare concern that has dominated debates over U.S. antitrust policy over the last several decades is whether antitrust should adopt a ‘consumer welfare’ principle rather than a more neoclassical ‘total welfare’ principle.”); David A. Hyman & William E. Kovacic, Institutional Design, Agency Life Cycle, and the Goals of Competition Law, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2163, 2163–64 (2013) (“Post–Chicago School enthusiasts accept the importance of efficiency but argue that the antitrust laws also exist to achieve other economic ends, including the protection of consumer choice and the prevention of unfair transfers of wealth from consumers to producers.”); John B. Kirkwood, The Essence of Antitrust: Protecting Consumers and Small Suppliers from Anticompetitive Conduct, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2425, 2453 (2013) (addressing and critiquing total welfare standard); Robert H. Lande, A Traditional and Textualist Analysis of the Goals of Antitrust: Efficiency, Preventing Theft from Consumers, and Consumer Choice, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2349, 2360 n.54 (2013) (noting Bork’s “deceptive use of the term ‘consumer welfare,’ instead of the more honest term ‘total welfare,’ was a brilliant way to market the efficiency objective”); Alan J. Meese, Reframing the (False?) Choice Between Purchaser Welfare and Total Welfare, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2197, 2198 (2013) (noting how the term consumer welfare, while a popular goal, “means different things to different people”); Barak Orbach, How Antitrust Lost Its Goal, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2253, 2273 (2013) (noting that “[f]or Bork, the phrase ‘consumer welfare’ meant ‘allocative efficiency’” but a “few years after Bork presented his thesis of the legislative intent of the Sherman Act, the phrase ‘consumer welfare’ acquired a popular [and different] cultural meaning referring to the buyer’s well being: the benefits a buyer derives from the consumption of goods and services, or more casually, the individual’s well being”); Joshua D. Wright & Douglas H. Ginsburg, The Goals of Antitrust: Welfare Trumps Choice, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2405, 2406 & n.10 (2013) (arguing, on the one hand, that the “promotion of economic welfare as the lodestar of antitrust laws—to the exclusion of social, political, and protectionist goals—transformed the state of the law and restored intellectual coherence to a body of law,” while declining, on the other hand, to elaborate “whether the appropriate standard is aggregate economic efficiency, often referred to as the total welfare standard or ‘true’ consumer welfare (in the economic sense of a consumer surplus) standard” and how policy makers would choose between the two welfare standards without referencing social and political goals (footnote omitted)). But see Harry First & Spencer Weber Waller, Antitrust’s Democracy Deficit, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2543, 2544 n.5 (2013) (“We take as a given that antitrust has political goals and reflects political value judgments.”).

195Stucke, supra note 190, at 563–95; see also Jonathan B. Baker, Economics and Politics: Perspectives on the Goals and Future of Antitrust, 81 Fordham L. Rev. 2175, 2180 (2013) (discussing why it is of “no surprise that after decades of doctrinal elaboration under an economic approach, the antitrust community has not reached a durable consensus over the economic goal that antitrust enforcement should pursue”); Orbach, supra note 194, at 2275 (“While offered as a remedy for reconciling confusion and contrasts in antitrust, the introduction of the consumer welfare standard effectively placed antitrust at war with itself.”).

196United States v. Swift & Co., 122 F. 529 (C.C.N.D. Ill. 1903), modified, 196 U.S. 375 (1905).

197Id. at 530.

198Id. at 534.

199See Mandeville Island Farms, Inc. v. Am. Crystal Sugar Co., 334 U.S. 219, 235–36 (1948).

200Id. (citations omitted).

201See, e.g., W. Penn Allegheny Health Sys., Inc. v. UPMC, 627 F.3d 85, 105 (3d Cir. 2010) (“Highmark’s improperly motivated exercise of monopsony power, like the collusive exercise of oligopsony power by the cheese makers in Knevelbaard, was anticompetitive and cannot be defended on the sole ground that it enabled Highmark to set lower premiums on its insurance plans.”); Telecor Commc’ns, Inc. v. Sw. Bell Tel. Co., 305 F.3d 1124, 1133–34 (10th Cir. 2002) (rejecting the defendant’s claim that a monopsony is not actionable unless it injures consumers by forcing up the price of the end product as inconsistent with the Court’s treatment of monopsony cases that “strongly suggests that suppliers . . . are protected by antitrust laws even when the anti-competitive activity does not harm end-users”); Dyer v. Conoco, Inc., No. 93-2801, 1995 WL 103233, at *5 (5th Cir. Feb. 21, 1995) (“Our cases have recognized that sellers to a monopsony or oligopsony can establish antitrust injury. They can do so because ‘[i]n the monopsony or oligopsony price fixing case . . . the seller faces a Hobson’s choice: he can sell into the rigged market and take the depressed price, or he can refuse to sell at all.’” (alteration in original) (citation omitted) (quoting In re Beef Indus. Antitrust Litig., 600 F.2d 1148, 1158 (5th Cir. 1979))); Mountain States Tel. & Tel. Co. v. FCC, 939 F.2d 1035, 1043 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (recognizing monopsony as an exception to an antitrust consumer welfare goal); Allen v. Dairy Farmers of Am., Inc., 748 F. Supp. 2d 323, 352 (D. Vt. 2010) (asserting that defendants’ “coercive acts perpetuated the monopoly and monopsony, disciplined those that sought to challenge it, cowed those who might venture a similar challenge, and produced the allegedly artificially depressed fluid raw milk prices that Plaintiffs received and which allegedly caused them injury”); In re NCAA I-A Walk-On Football Players Litig., 398 F. Supp. 2d 1144, 1151 (W.D. Wash. 2005) (finding that “[i]njury to competition can occur by monopsony just as it may result from monopoly”).

202White Mule Co. v. ATC Leasing Co., 540 F. Supp. 2d 869, 888 (N.D. Ohio 2008) (citations omitted).

203See, e.g., 2010 Merger Guidelines, supra note 5, § 12, at 33 (“Nor do the Agencies evaluate the competitive effects of mergers between competing buyers strictly, or even primarily, on the basis of effects in the downstream markets in which the merging firms sell.”). The guidelines do state that efficiencies must be “sufficient to reverse the merger’s potential to harm customers in the relevant market.” Id. § 10, at 30. But assuming that this applies to mergers between buyers, a consumer-oriented efficiencies defense does not mean that the Clayton Act prohibits only mergers that harm consumers. The latter does not follow from the former, and there is no need for symmetry between the two. The efficiencies defense simply elevates the harm to consumers over potential efficiency benefits to producers in mergers; the efficiencies defense is not intended to discount the harm (or possibility of harm) to other producers arising in mergers.

204Id. § 12, at 33.

205Health Report, supra note 31, ch. 6, at 19–20 (footnotes omitted); accord Complaint, United States v. Cargill, Inc., No. 1:99CV01875 (D.D.C. July 8, 1999), available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/f2500/2552.pdf.

206See Int’l Competition Network, Competition Enforcement and Consumer Welfare: Setting the Agenda 2, 15 (2011) [hereinafter 2011 ICN Survey], available at http://www.internationalcompetitionnetwork.org/uploads/library/doc857.pdf (noting that 24% of the fifty-four agencies responding to the survey reported that legislation does not mention consumer welfare and 28% responded that legislation indirectly refers to consumer welfare).

207See 21 Cong. Rec. 2461 (1890) (statement of Sen. John Sherman); see also Kirkwood, supra note 194, at 2434 (discussing how “Congress also intended to stop buyers from engaging in similar anticompetitive behavior in order to exploit small sellers like farmers and ranchers”); Gregory J. Werden, Essay, Monopsony and the Sherman Act: Consumer Welfare in a New Light, 74 Antitrust L.J. 707, 714 (2007) (“The legislative history leaves no doubt that Congress intended to protect sellers victimized by trusts and other conduct within the scope of the Sherman Act’s prohibitions.”).

20821 Cong. Rec. 2461 (1890) (statement of Sen. John Sherman).

209OECD, supra note 1, at 247 (noting how the DOJ “brought 70 criminal cases against buyer cartels” from 1997–2006); see also Vogel v. Am. Soc’y of Appraisers, 744 F.2d 598, 601 (7th Cir. 1984) (“[B]uyer cartels, the object of which is to force the prices that suppliers charge the members of the cartel below the competitive level, are illegal per se.”); Int’l Outsourcing Servs., LLC v. Blistex, Inc., 420 F. Supp. 2d 860, 865 (N.D. Ill. 2006) (“[T]he complaint sets forth a horizontal price fixing scheme among buyers to fix the prices of an input—shipping costs for coupons—below its competitive cost. [The plaintiff’s] claim sufficiently alleges conduct prohibited per se by the Sherman Act.”).

210For example, the Ninth Circuit recently quoted earlier caselaw of how “‘Congress designed the Sherman Act as a consumer welfare prescription.’” California ex rel. Harris v. Safeway, Inc., 651 F.3d 1118, 1132 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Reiter v. Sonotone Corp., 442 U.S. 330, 343 (1979)). But the court recognized that harm transcends the consumer:Congress sought to ensure that competitors not cut deals aimed at stifling competition and at permitting higher prices to be charged to consumers than would be expected in a competitive environment, or permitting lower prices to be paid to those from whom competitors bought materials than a fair market rate.Id. Judge Reinhardt, in a separate opinion, bluntly rejected the defendants’ justification that driving down their workers’ compensation was somehow a pro-competitive benefit: “The Supreme Court has made clear, however, that because antitrust law operates to correct all distortions of competition, it condemns market actors who distort competition, whether on the buyer side or seller side.” Id. at 1161 (Reinhardt, J., dissenting in part and concurring in part); see also W. Penn Allegheny Health Sys., Inc. v. UPMC, 627 F.3d 85, 105 (3d Cir. 2010) (“[P]aying [the plaintiff] artificially depressed reimbursement rates was an anticompetitive aspect of the alleged conspiracy.”).

211In Knevelbaard Dairies v. Kraft Foods, Inc., 232 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2000), the court rejected the argument that collusive bid rigging was somehow legal because lower consumer prices ensued. The Ninth Circuit recalled “that the central purpose of the antitrust laws, state and federal, is to preserve competition.” Id. The fact that the Supreme Court referenced at times an antitrust objective of achieving low prices did not mean that the courts should tolerate buyer cartels. Id. Instead, the Court’s central interest, explained the Ninth Circuit, is “in protecting the economic freedom of participants in the relevant market.” Id. (quoting Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 538 (1983)) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Cascades Computer Innovation LLC v. RPX Corp., No. 12-CV-01143 YGR, 2013 WL 316023, at *10 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 24, 2013) (stating that “[a]nticompetitive conduct need not harm consumers specifically in order to cause antitrust injury”).

212See Maurice E. Stucke, Reconsidering Competition, 81 Miss. L.J. 107, 111–20 (2011).

213Stucke, supra note 190, at 570–77.

214Id.

2152011 ICN Survey, supra note 206, at 14.

216ICN Report, supra note 191, at 9; see also 2011 ICN Survey, supra note 206, at 4.

2172011 ICN Survey, supra note 206, at 3 (noting the “connection between consumer welfare and the practical enforcement of competition law is not always straightforward” and that “there may be a considerable gap between policy statements and practice”).

218William E. Kovacic, Chairman, U.S. Fed. Trade Comm’n, Competition Policy in the European Union and the United States: Convergence or Divergence? 9 (June 2, 2008), available at www.ftcgov/speeches/kovacic/080602bateswhite.pdf.

2192010 Merger Guidelines, supra note 5, at 2 (emphasis added).

220See OECD, supra note 1, at 182 (noting “there is intensive discussion about what this concept really means”).

221Stucke, supra note 190, at 573–77.

222See OECD, supra note 1, at 187.

2232011 ICN Survey, supra note 206, at 4; OECD, supra note 1, at 258 (describing the European Commission suggestion that a monopsony, in withholding demand and lowering output, “would also restrict sales downstream, leading to negative welfare effects as prices rise and/or quality or choice is sacrificed”).

224See De Schutter, supra note 6, at 5 (expressing concern over consumer welfare standard); Dodd & Asfaha, supra note 6, at 20.

2252011 ICN Survey, supra note 206, at 23–24.

226Id. at 42–44; Stucke, supra note 190, at 574–77.

227OECD, supra note 1, at 9 (emphasis omitted).

228Id. at 182.

229Id.

230OECD, Competition on the Merits, at 23, OECD Doc. DAF/COMP(2005)27 (Mar. 30, 2006), available at (the exception is applicability).

231Noll, supra note 31, at 613.

232Brown v. Pro Football, Inc., 50 F.3d 1041, 1061 (D.C. Cir. 1995) (Wald, J., dissenting) (“So, even proceeding from the premise that antitrust laws aim only at protecting consumers, monopsonies fall under antitrust purview because monopsonistic practices will eventually adversely affect consumers.”), aff’d, 518 U.S. 231 (1996); OECD, supra note 1, at 9 (“Monopsony . . . will result in a quantity distortion and loss of efficiency in the input market that will usually harm not only upstream suppliers, but also downstream consumers.”).

233See OECD, supra note 1, at 11, 176 (describing this as the “spiral effect”).

234Id. at 11, 176–77; Carstensen, supra note 25, at 284.

235OECD, supra note 1, at 11 (noting that buyer power may lead “to lower downstream market prices that decrease the profitability of a buyer’s competitors, leading to their exit and an increase in its downstream market power, harming final consumers; or (ii) the lower wholesale prices obtained from this conduct by a buyer with market power results in an increase in the wholesale price to other buyers—a so-called waterbed effect—that results in an increase in prices to downstream consumers”).

236See, e.g., Sony Elecs., Inc. v. Soundview Techs., Inc., 157 F. Supp. 2d 180, 185 (D. Conn. 2001) (“The all-or-nothing price set by these colluding purchasers can depress the price below the optimal price that would obtain if usual market forces of supply and demand were at work. The price to consumers does not decrease, but there may be social welfare consequences in the long run, because suppliers will leave the industry (or, as Soundview has it, will cease to innovate and invent).”).

237OECD, supra note 1, at 177, 269–70.

238Id. at 260.

239Carstensen, supra note 25, at 299.

240OECD, supra note 1, at 260.

241See id. at 177 (noting that while “it is generally assumed that the use of buyer power reduces the suppliers’ opportunities for investment and innovation because it reduces their profits. . . . the economic literature has developed some explanations on why, under certain circumstances, buyer power can also have investment incentive effects, and thus positive welfare effects”).

242Id.

243See id. at 12.

244The European Commission asserts:Abuses of buyer power are contrary to EC competition law where there is a proven detriment to downstream consumers.. . . EC antitrust law is not concerned with particular outcomes of contractual negotiations between parties unless such terms would have negative effects on the competitive process and ultimately reduce consumer welfare.Food Supply Chain, supra note 187, at 18. For the European Commission, this “encompasses prices, diversity and quality.” Id.

245 Vision Statement, Fair Trade USA, http://fairtradeusa.org/about-fair-trade-usa/mission (last visited July 1, 2013).

246See Coffee, Starbucks, http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/sourcing/coffee (last visited July 1, 2013).

247 Goals and Progress: Coffee Purchasing, Starbucks, http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/global-report/ethical-sourcing/coffee-purchasing (last visited June 26, 2013).

248Welfare, Merriam-Webster, (last visited July 1, 2013).

249See, e.g., John Black, A Dictionary of Economics 502 (2d ed. 2002); Economics A-Z Terms Beginning with W, Economist, http://www.economist.com/economics-a-to-z/w#node-21529313 (last visited June 26, 2013) (“Economists use it to describe the well being of an individual or society, as in ‘Are tax cuts welfare-enhancing?’”); OECD, Glossary of Industrial Organisation Economics and Competition Law, OECD 29, www.oecd.org/dataoecd/8/61/2376087.pdf (last visited June 26, 2013) (“Consumer welfare refers to the individual benefits derived from the consumption of goods and services. In theory, individual welfare is defined by an individual’s own assessment of his/her satisfaction, given prices and income.”).

250See Stucke, supra note 105.

251See, e.g., Maurice E. Stucke, Is Intent Relevant?, 8 J.L. Econ. & Pol’y 801, 822–28 (2012) (collecting some of the literature); see also Lynn A. Stout, Cultivating Conscience: How Good Laws Make Good People 238–40 (2011) (discussing how societal norms of fairness and prosocial behavior are both common in, and necessary for, a market economy); Thomas J. Horton, Unraveling the Chicago/Harvard Antitrust Double Helix: Applying Evolutionary Theory to Guard Competitors and Revive Antitrust Jury Trials, 41 U. Balt. L. Rev. 615, 653–54 (2012) (citing research on how “‘fairness evolved as a stable strategy for maintaining social harmony’ in our economic relationships” and how “[n]eurobiological studies have found that ‘the sense of fairness fundamental to distributive justice’ is rooted in humans’ emotional processing” (quoting Joan Roughgarden, The Genial Gene: Deconstructing Darwinian Selfishness 160 (2009); Michael Shermer, The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics 11 (2008))).

252See Moral Sentiments and Material Interests: The Foundations of Cooperation in Economic Life (Herbert Gintis et al. eds., 2005); Yochai Benkler, The Unselfish Gene, Harv. Bus. Rev., July-Aug. 2011, at 77, 79 (“In no society examined under controlled conditions have the majority of people consistently behaved selfishly.”); Ming Hsu et al., The Right and the Good: Distributive Justice and Neural Encoding of Equity and Efficiency, 320 Science 1092 (2008). Employers, for example, may not reduce wages during times of deflation as workers perceive this wage reduction as unfair, and retaliate by working less hard. Moral Sentiments and Material Interests, supra, at 3, 32. So rather than self-interest, employers appeal to fairness concerns. George A. Akerlof & Robert J. Shiller, Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism 19–25, 107–15 (2009); Daniel Kahneman et al., Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market, 76 Am. Econ. Rev. 728, 729 (1986) (“A central concept in analyzing the fairness of actions in which a firm sets the terms of future exchanges is the reference transaction, a relevant precedent that is characterized by a reference price or wage, and by a positive reference profit to the firm.”).

253Herbert Gintis et al., Explaining Altruistic Behavior in Humans, 24 Evolution & Hum. Behav. 153, 154 (2003). These authors argued that “the evolutionary success of our species and the moral sentiments that have led people to value freedom, equality, and representative government are predicated upon strong reciprocity and related motivations that go beyond inclusive fitness and reciprocal altruism.” Id.

254Matthew Rabin, A Perspective on Psychology and Economics, 46 Eur. Econ. Rev. 657, 665 (2002).

255Samuel Bowles, Policies Designed for Self-Interested Citizens May Undermine “the Moral Sentiments”: Evidence from Economic Experiments, 320 Science 1605, 1606 (2008).

256Jens Hainmueller & Michael J. Hiscox, The Socially Conscious Consumer? Field Experimental Tests of Consumer Support for Fair Labor Standards (Mass. Inst. of Tech. Political Sci. Dep’t, Working Paper No. 2012-15, 2012), available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2062435.

257Id. at 8.

258Id.

259Id. at 9.

260Id. at 11–12 (finding that “for the women’s linen suit, the fairness message increased dollar sales by about 14% on average with a .90 confidence interval of [2%; 26%] (p-value = .06) compared to sales in the control group stores where the suit was sold without a message”).

261Id. at 2.

262Ellen Garbarino & Sarah Maxwell, Consumer Response to Norm-Breaking Pricing Events in E-Commerce, 63 J. Bus. Res. 1066, 1067 (2010); Horton, supra note 251, at 655–56 (collecting additional studies); Thomas M. Tripp & Yany Grégoire, When Unhappy Customers Strike Back on the Internet, MIT Sloan Mgmt. Rev., Spring 2011, at 37, 43 (noting that experiment and survey results “showed that inference of motive was the key belief that drove anger and any consequent desires for revenge or reconciliation”); Lan Xia & Kent B. Monroe, Is a Good Deal Always Fair? Examining the Concepts of Transaction Value and Price Fairness, 31 J. Econ. Psychol. 884, 891 (2010).

263Garbarino & Maxwell, supra note 262, at 1067 (arguing that a pricing norm violation will likely reduce “consumers’ trust in the firm’s intention to behave in the customer’s best interest”); Stucke, supra note 251, at 834–36; Stephan M. Wagner et al., Effects of Suppliers’ Reputation on the Future of Buyer–Supplier Relationships: The Mediating Roles of Outcome Fairness and Trust, J. Supply Chain Mgmt., Apr. 2011, at 29, 32; see also Lisa E. Bolton et al., How Do Price Fairness Perceptions Differ Across Culture?, 47 J. Marketing Res. 564 (2010); Stephanie Clifford, Some Retailers Reveal Where and How That T-Shirt Is Made, N.Y. Times, May 9, 2013, at A1.

264During the financial crisis in 2009, a majority of consumers surveyed in five (Belgium, Denmark, France, Spain, and Poland) of six European countries felt that “supermarkets should pay a price that enabled suppliers to pay their workers a fair wage, even if it resulted in consumers having to pay more.” Consumers Int’l, Checked Out: Are European Supermarkets Living Up to Their Responsibilities for Labour Conditions in the Developing World? 10 (2010), available at http://www.consumersinternational.org/media/394236/checkedout-english-02.pdf. Greek consumers were the exception: 70% agreed that retailers should “[e]nsure [the] lowest prices by paying minimum to suppliers.” Id. at 18.

265Joseph Turow et al., Open to Exploitation: American Shoppers Online and Offline 8–10 (2005), available at http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1035&context=asc_papers; Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Jeremy Singer-Vine & Ashkan Soltani, Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users’ Information, Wall St. J., Dec. 24, 2012, at A1.

266Turow et al., supra note 265, at 4 (finding that most people surveyed “overwhelmingly object[ed] to most forms of behavioral targeting and all forms of price discrimination as ethically wrong,” including 76% who agreed that “it would bother me to learn that other people pay less than I do for the same products,” 87% who disagreed that “it’s OK if an online store I use charges people different prices for the same products during the same hour,” and 72% who disagreed that “if a store I shop at frequently charges me lower prices than it charges other people because it wants to keep me as a customer more than it wants to keep them, that’s OK”).

267Garbarino & Maxwell, supra note 262, at 1069.

268Xia & Monroe, supra note 262, at 891.

269Jill Gabrielle Klein et al., Why We Boycott: Consumer Motivations for Boycott Participation, J. Marketing, July 2004, at 92, 96.

27021 Cong. Rec. 2457 (1890).

271Wagner et al., supra note 263, at 43 (noting that to secure competitive advantage, companies, among other things, should “ensure that fairness and trust are part of the training expectations among company representatives that work face-to-face with customers”).

272Id. at 30.

273David Reinstein & Joon Song, Efficient Consumer Altruism and Fair Trade Products, 21 J. Econ. & Mgmt. Strategy 213, 214 (2012) (collecting some of the research showing the willingness of a “significant subset of consumers . . . to pay a premium for products labeled as ‘Fair Trade’ . . . and a preference for retailers that are seen to be more generous to their suppliers and employees, domestically and internationally”).

274See, e.g., Devesh Rustagi et al., Conditional Cooperation and Costly Monitoring Explain Success in Forest Commons Management, 330 Science 961, 962 (2010) (finding fewer altruists (15 of 679 participants) and self-interested free riders (78 participants) among forty-nine forest user groups in Ethiopia and finding that most were either other-regarding conditional cooperators (231 participants) or weak conditional cooperators (79 participants)).

275See Michael E. Porter & Mark R. Kramer, Creating Shared Value, Harv. Bus. Rev., Jan.-Feb. 2011, at 62, 77.

276Id. at 70.

277See, e.g., Sony Elecs., Inc. v. Soundview Techs. Inc., 157 F. Supp. 2d 180, 186 (D. Conn. 2001) (observing that although the “monopsonist purchaser’s interests are not served by reducing the numbers of suppliers, business conduct is not always rational, and economic actors do not always have access to perfect information, the utopian ideal of economics”).

278Porter & Kramer, supra note 275, at 64, 66.

279Id. at 70.

280Id.

281See, e.g., Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty (2012).

282OECD, supra note 1, at 191.

283Id.; see also C. Robert Taylor, The Many Faces of Power in the Food System, U.S. Department Just. (Feb. 17, 2004), http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/workshops/docs/202608.pdf (“[T]he central economic issues facing the food system have little to do with economic efficiency, but a lot to do with fairness and economic freedom for farmers and ranchers.”).

284Public Workshops Exploring Competition Issues in Agriculture: A Dialogue on Competition Issues Facing Farmers in Today’s Agricultural Marketplace, U.S. Department Just. 56 (Mar. 12, 2010), http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/workshops/ag2010/iowa-agworkshop-transcript.pdf.