William Rogerson is an industrial organization expert who addresses issues related to antitrust, telecommunications regulation, and the economics of mergers and acquisitions.
In his research, Professor Rogerson has analyzed a range of topics related to antitrust enforcement and regulation, notably the role of digital platforms, the competitive effects of vertical mergers, and economic theories of harm arising in telecommunications mergers.
Professor Rogerson’s research on the antitrust analysis of vertical mergers has had a significant real-world impact on enforcement agency analyses and decisions. Among his contributions is the introduction of bargaining theory to the analysis of vertical mergers, through which he identified a new theory of competitive harm to be considered when evaluating a vertical merger.
In his research, Professor Rogerson has found that a vertical merger can increase the upstream firm’s ability to raise input prices as the result of its increased bargaining power. Thus, prices may rise after the merger and cause consumer harm, even if the merger does not make foreclosure profitable. This research also includes a simple formula to calculate the upward pricing pressure resulting from this increased bargaining leverage. Professor Rogerson’s work has relevance for vertical mergers in markets in which both downstream and upstream firms have bargaining power, such as markets between content creators and pay-TV providers.
Professor Rogerson first developed this theory of harm in reports submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on behalf of the American Cable Association, regarding the Comcast/NBC Universal merger. He explained that the merger would lead to anticompetitive harm in certain local markets as a result of the vertically-integrated firm’s increased bargaining power. The FCC adopted Professor Rogerson’s proposed bargaining model. And, although it allowed the merger, the agency imposed certain conditions on the merged firm to limit its ability to raise prices paid by rival content distributors.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) adopted Professor Rogerson’s theory of harm when it attempted to block the AT&T/Time Warner merger in 2018. Other antitrust agencies outside the U.S. have also adopted it in their analyses of vertical mergers involving content creators and distributors. The American Antitrust Association honored Professor Rogerson with the Jerry S. Cohen Award for the Best Antitrust Article of 2021 on Vertical Mergers for a recent paper in which he further develops the theoretical foundations of this theory of harm.
Professor Rogerson has served as the chief economist at the FCC. He has consulted for the Federal Trade Commission, the DOJ, the FCC, the Canadian Competition Bureau, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the RAND Corporation, among others. He is an elected fellow of both the Econometric Society and the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory, and he received the 2019 Distinguished Service Award from the Industrial Organization Society.