Price Discrimination Law and Economic Efficiency

The Clayton Act, as amended by the Robinson-Patman Act (15 U.S.C. § 13), undertakes to outlaw price “discrimination” upon proof of threatened injury to competition, and subject to specified defenses. Lawyers often bewail the fact that administration of this statute frequently fails to conform to an economist’s notion of discrimination. For the most part, the complaints are addressed to the clear fact that, as drafted and interpreted, the statute wreaks unnecessary damage. In the name of protecting competition, competition and economic efficiency are often curtailed.