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Geoffrey Manne Interviewed for Marketplace's Tech Report PDF Print E-mail
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International Center for Law and Economics' Executive Director Geoffrey Manne was recently interviewed on Verizon's acquisition of spectrum from cable operators by Marketplace's Tech Report. The report, which aired Tuesday, December 28, explores Version's various deals with cable companies to route around political blockages and acquire much needed spectrum. However, the Department of Justice recently decided to launch an antitrust invesitgation into the deals just days after AT&T dropped its bid for T-Mobile.

Manne injected some reality into the discussion:

In a sort of perfect world, you hear people say well, the spectrum that the cable companies own that they're not using, smaller competitors should be buying that so they can compete with AT&T and Verizon and others. Well, that's a nice idea, I guess, but the smaller companies aren't buying it and Verizon snapped up that spectrum so that they could continue to provide the level of service that they'd like to.

Listen to the embedded player below or head to the web site to hear the entire segment.

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Congressional Cowardice, Not Military Detentions, is the Real Threat to Civil Liberty PDF Print E-mail
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In an Op-Ed in the Hill, International Center for Law and Economics' Executive Director Geoffrey Manne explains the real problem with the National Defense Authorization Act:

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a bad piece of legislation, but not for the reason most people think. The NDAA has set the political world alight over fears that it allows the U.S. government to arrest American citizens inside the U.S. and then ship them off as terrorists into indefinite military detention without trial. Reasonable fears, to be sure – except they don’t arise from the NDAA; rather, the power to do just that likely already exists.

The real problem with the NDAA is that it does nothing to resolve the root, underlying threat to American civil liberties: Congress' abdication of its responsibility to define the standards that govern for whom and when military detention is appropriate.

 

 
Wall Street Journal Cites Philadelphia Courts Paper Authored by Professor Joshua Wright PDF Print E-mail
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The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a bill before the Pennsylvania house Judiciary Committee that would offset the current advantage for plaintiffs by changing the courts' jurisdiction rules. While plaintiffs can currently parachute into Philadelphia from anywhere in the state, the new plan would allow Pennsylvania's local courts to hear personal injury cases only when the plaintiff is a resident, a corporation is locally headquartered, or the incident occurred in the district.

The piece cites a paper issued by the International Center for Law & Economics and authored by Professor of Law and Economics at George Mason University School of Law, Joshua D. Wright. As the Wall Street Journal indicates,

Philadelphia plaintiffs are less likely to settle than plaintiffs elsewhere and show a marked preference for jury trials, according to a report for the International Center for Law and Economics by Joshua Wright based on data from Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. Philadelphia juries find in favor of plaintiffs more often than non-Philly juries—"by as much as 23.7% in absolute terms in 2005."

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Geoffrey Manne To Speak on Privacy at Silicon Flatirons PDF Print E-mail
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Information privacy represents one of the most exciting, rapidly growing areas of legal scholarship, yet information privacy law scholars rarely express any faith in market principles. Government regulators seem a bit more conflicted, with recent pronouncements from the Commerce Department, FTC, and Congress premised largely on market-based, notice-and-choice principles, but emphasizing the limits of markets.

This Friday, Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado will host representatives from these three institutions to debate the Economics of Privacy. Joining them will be an interdisciplinary group of leading thinkers from other disciplines, such as economists studying the behavioral economics of privacy and computer scientists who specialize in human-computer interaction studying the limits of notice-and-choice. Executive Director Geoffrey Manne has been invited as one of these guests and will explore the markets of privacy, explaining the advantages of relying on market forces, self-regulation, and FTC’s existing enforcement mechanisms to protect privacy in the 21st century.

 
New Empirical Report Erodes Support for Claims of Google's Search Bias PDF Print E-mail
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A new report titled "Defining and Measuring Search Bias: Some Preliminary Evidence" has just been released.

Google has been the subject of persistent claims that its organic search results are improperly “biased” toward its own content. Among the most influential is an empirical study released earlier this year by Benjamin Edelman and Benjamin Lockwood, claiming that Google favors its own content “significantly more than others.” The authors conclude in their study that Google’s search results are problematic and deserving of antitrust scrutiny because of competitive harm.

A new report released by the International Center for Law & Economics and authored by Joshua Wright, Professor of Law and Economics at George Mason University, critiques, replicates, and extends the study, finding Edelman & Lockwood’s claim of Google’s unique bias inaccurate and misleading. Although frequently cited for it, the Edelman & Lockwod study fails to support any claim of consumer harm -- or call for antitrust action -- arising from Google’s practices.

Prof. Wright’s analysis finds own-content bias is actually an infrequent phenomenon, and Google references its own content more favorably than other search engines far less frequently than does Bing:

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