Anticompetitive Barriers to E-Commerce Symposium:

On May 24, the Mercatus Center at GMU and the George Mason University School of Law will be cosponsoring a symposium on "Anticompetitive Barriers to E-Commerce." The Symposium will feature papers providing empirical studies on the effects of regulatory barriers on consumer welfare, as well as the legal issues surrounding the regulation of E-Commerce. More information is available here. Participants include Kenneth Starr, Michael Greve, Rick Geddes, and several current and former FTC staffers.

The papers will be published in a special symposium issue of the George Mason Journal of Law, Economics, and Policy (for which I am the Faculty Advisor and member of the Board of Advisors).

Here's the description of the program:

Business-to-consumer e-commerce is one of the fastest growing business sectors in the American economy. As a result, industry-specific economic regulations, occupational licensing, franchising laws, and a variety of other practices are now under challenge from a new direction. High-profile lawsuits and policy battles involving e-commerce have occurred in industries as diverse as automobiles, wine, caskets, real estate, and contact lenses. In some cases, the bricks-and-mortar incumbents have responded by lobbying for laws or regulations that would protect them from Internet-based competition. Innovation in e-commerce is also calling into question many established policies that generally protect incumbents from new entrants -- often in-state interests from out-of-state interests.

In light of these developments, court cases and Federal Trade Commission hearings have revealed that there is a paucity of economic and legal analysis focused on legal and regulatory barriers to e-commerce.

To explore these new issues, and to stimulate research in this area, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, in collaboration with the George Mason University School of Law, is holding a daylong symposium to allow prominent legal and economic scholars to present papers on topics such as: the current status of legal and regulatory barriers, their impact on consumers, their implications for competitive federalism, and more...