Antitrust Expert Spotlight: Gautam Gowrisankaran

Gautam Gowrisankaran researches critical antitrust and competition issues, with applications in healthcare, energy, and high-tech goods, among other sectors.

Professor Gowrisankaran has particular expertise analyzing industries that are highly regulated and exhibit rapid technological change, as well as markets in which prices are negotiated. His research has been influential because he has successfully devised frontier methods to help answer complex, policy-relevant questions using state-of-the-art-data.

Professor Gowrisankaran specializes in methods to better understand firm behavior in industries in which prices are negotiated between the buyer and seller. His award-winning coauthored paper, “Mergers When Prices Are Negotiated: Evidence from the Hospital Industry,” advances methods to estimate the price impact of mergers in such settings, and then applies these methods to evaluate the implications of mergers and policy interventions in hospital markets. Professor Gowrisankaran’s work provides a tractable equilibrium framework and can be applied to other settings with negotiated prices, which includes many business-to-business (B2B) transactions.

Professor Gowrisankaran’s research has been influential because he has successfully devised frontier methods to help answer complex, policy-relevant questions using state-of-the-art-data.

Professor Gowrisankaran’s coauthored article, “‘Nash-in-Nash’ Bargaining: A Microfoundation for Applied Work,” builds a theoretical foundation for the Nash-in-Nash model, which has become the workhorse for modeling firm competition and bargaining protocols in real-world settings. Since prices are negotiated in most sectors with B2B transactions, and since regulators have begun to focus on mergers’ impacts on all trading partners, not just consumers, this topic is of increased importance in merger review.

Professor Gowrisankaran is also engaged in research paper that contributes to our understanding of vertical interactions—and addresses a significant gap in antitrust policy—by demonstrating that market power by downstream firms can potentially counteract market power upstream. Given the contributions of his research, Professor Gowrisankaran’s work has become widely used and cited in both academic and court settings.

Professor Gowrisankaran’s research has also directly influenced policymaking. For example, his work evaluating insurance design, sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, has influenced models used by policymakers to predict the impact of policy reform on health insurance coverage. His award-winning paper, “Soaking Up the Sun: Battery Investment, Renewable Energy, and Market Equilibrium,” provides a framework for policymakers to evaluate the benefits and costs of policies on energy storage.

Professor Gowrisankaran has also submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on their draft vertical merger guidelines. He and coauthors discussed complex market interactions such moral hazard, information asymmetry, two-stage competition, and price negotiation that could complicate merger analysis of “vertical” combinations.

Professor Gowrisankaran is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and a research fellow at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He serves on the U.S. Congressional Budget Office Health Advisory Panel. He has consulted to both the FTC and the Antitrust Division of the DOJ on multiple mergers.