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Competition and Innovation


The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have frequently raised innovation concerns as reasons to challenge mergers. This chapter surveys the economic theories of innovation incentives and considers how the theory may inform antitrust analysis for merger investigations and other conduct that involve innovation. Competition can promote innovation by reducing the value of failing to invest in research and development. However, with non-exclusive intellectual property rights, competition can reduce innovation incentives by lowering post-innovation profits. There is some empirical support for these economic theories. The chapter concludes that economics can inform antitrust analysis for mergers and other conduct that could affect innovation, although it is important that antitrust analysis carefully consider the key factors that drive innovation incentives.

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