On Jan. 8, the Open Markets Institute announced the creation of a new academic advisory board to provide expertise for the D.C. think tank’s work in public policy. Among the 12 new board members is Professor Maurice Stucke.
Stucke is the Douglas A. Blaze Distinguished Professor of Law at UT, where he teaches a variety of courses surrounding economics and law. He is also the co-author of several books, including “Big Data and Competition Policy” and the upcoming “Competition Overdose: How Free Market Mythology Transformed Us from Citizen Kings to Market Servants.”
Stucke recounted how he came to meet Barry Lynn, the executive director of OMI, at a conference hosted by the American Antitrust Institute.
“The AAI was unique because it felt like it was trying to preserve robust antitrust enforcement in this wave of retrenchment,” Stucke said. “Barry comes into this audience and says, ‘You know, you’re the culprits. You’re allowing antitrust to die,’ and everyone’s like, ‘no, no we’re the defenders!’ I then met Barry at that conference, and then we continued talking through that.”
OMI was formerly a program of the influential think tank New America until Lynn -- then a senior fellow with the group -- issued a statement praising the EU for levying an unprecedented $2.7 billion fine against Google in 2017.
New America’s former chairman and longtime Google executive Eric Schmidt apparently made his displeasure known to Anne-Marie Slaughter, the president of New America at the time, and the two organizations promptly parted ways.
Since its founding in 1999, New America has received over $21 million from Google, Eric Schmidt and the Schmidt Family Foundation, according to reporting by “The New York Times" alleging that the move stemmed from pressure from Google.
Before he was a professor at UT, Stucke served as a prosecutor for the Department of Justice. He explained how the department would predict whether a potential merger would significantly lessen competition.
“One of the problems is: we never really went back to check to see if we got our prediction right or wrong,” Stucke said. “The weather person would know if they got the prediction wrong -- because it’s quite apparent if they said it was raining and the next day is sunny -- but it’s harder to know to what extent the agencies are predicting it correctly,” Stucke said.
According to Stucke, fellow OMI academic board member John Kwoka reviewed every merger retrospective that was ever done to determine how often the government was getting it wrong.
“What he found was on its own front troubling: that the agencies were getting them wrong, that there were a lot of mergers that were going through that were actually anticompetitive,” Stucke said. “So he wrote first an article about it, but then later a book, and then that has become an important work in and of its own right.”
Stucke’s students stated that part of his skill as an educator is his ability to engage with students.
Stucke’s former student Julia Hale, an associate at the Lewis Thomason law firm in Knoxville, said that Stucke’s use of the Socratic method made for highly informative classes.
“Professor Stucke is particularly skilled in that he will identify where a student’s reasoning is flawed, thus leading them to provide an inaccurate answer,” Hale said. “He will then quickly begin a thoughtful line of questioning that will encourage students to venture down a path towards a higher level of understanding regarding the topic at hand.”
Assistant Attorney General Jamison Tate Ball is also a former student of Stucke’s, and he is currently working under Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III. Ball said that Stucke inspired him to pursue a career in the Consumer Protection Division.
Slatery’s office is pursuing investigations into Facebook and Google as part of a multi-state effort led by New York state Attorney General Letitia James.
“I personally find it very rewarding and somewhat unbelievable to have the opportunity to work on the cutting edge of antitrust law in the Big Tech realm,” Ball said.
Stucke’s work in public policy throughout the past several decades continues to impact American government on a wide scale, as well as inspire those who are following in his footsteps.