These Professors Make More Than a Thousand Bucks an Hour Peddling Mega-Mergers
"If the government ends up approving the $85
billion AT&T-Time Warner merger, credit won’t necessarily belong to
the executives, bankers, lawyers, and lobbyists pushing for the deal.
More likely, it will be due to the professors....
Today, 'in front of the government, in many cases the most important
advocate is the economist and lawyers come second,' said James Denvir,
an antitrust lawyer at Boies, Schiller.
Economists who specialize in antitrust — affiliated with Chicago,
Harvard, Princeton, the University of California, Berkeley, and other
prestigious universities — reshaped their field through scholarly work
showing that mergers create efficiencies of scale that benefit
consumers. But they reap their most lucrative paydays by lending their
academic authority to mergers their corporate clients propose. Corporate
lawyers hire them from Compass Lexecon and half a dozen other firms to
sway the government by documenting that a merger won’t be
“anti-competitive”: in other words, that it won’t raise retail prices,
stifle innovation, or restrict product offerings. Their optimistic
forecasts, though, often turn out to be wrong, and the mergers they
champion may be hurting the economy.