Christopher Leslie wins award for article on predatory pricing

June 2, 2014

Image of Christopher Leslie

Professor Christopher Leslie’s article, “Predatory Pricing and Recoupment,” published in the Columbia Law Review has won the award for the Best Academic Article on Monopolization at the 2014 Antitrust Writing Awards, presented by the Institute of Competition Law and George Washington University Law School Competition Law Center.

The final judging panel included the Honorable Douglas H. Ginsburg (of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals), Professor William E. Kovacic (former Chairman of the FTC), Professor Joshua Wright (current FTC Commissioner), Professor Howard Shelanski (Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs), Frédéric Jenny (Chairman of the OECD Competition Committee), and Andreas Mundt (Chairman of the International Competition Network).

Predatory pricing occurs when a firm charges a price below its costs in the hopes of driving its competitors out of the market by forcing them to sell at a loss as well. If it succeeds, the firm can achieve monopoly power, which it can exercise by charging a monopoly price in an effort to recoup the losses it sustained from pricing below cost. Courts have imposed a recoupment element for predatory pricing claims, which means that predatory pricing is not illegal unless a monopolist earns more in monopoly profits than it lost from below-cost pricing.

In his article, Professor Leslie discusses the evolution and rationale for the recoupment requirement. He shows how recoupment analysis by courts is often flawed. He then illustrates the many ways in which recoupment can occur. Despite these various modes of recoupment, federal courts have sometimes structured the recoupment requirement in a way that is literally impossible to satisfy. After exploring the judicial misapplication of the recoupment requirement, the Article challenges the underlying premises of the element by showing how predatory pricing can hurt consumers and competition even if a firm engaged in predatory pricing is unable to recoup its losses.

Professor Leslie’s article was also a finalist for the American Antitrust Institute’s 12th annual Jerry S. Cohen Memorial Fund Writing Award, which honors the best antitrust law review article published in the previous year.