Scholars of U.S. antitrust law, enforcement, and policy—from disciplinary backgrounds that range from law & economics to political science, political sociology, and history—have long debated how domestic politics influences U.S. antitrust law and policy, and especially U.S. antitrust enforcement practices.  This has included debates over whether there are partisan differences regarding the preferred level or kind of antitrust enforcement, and whether the U.S. DoJ and the FTC differ in how susceptible they are to political pressure or interference (or maybe just in which branch of government is able to exert undue influence).  It has also included debates over the importance of conscious political or policy decision—relative to other, arguably more incidental developments, such as the increasing role of economic analysis in U.S. antitrust law and practice—for explaining the major developments in U.S. antitrust over the past half century.  While few of these debates are settled (see the 2014 symposium on "Politics and Antitrust" of the Antitrust Law Journal, the flagship journal of the antitrust section of the American Bar Association), systematic empirical anlyses mostly rely upon older datasets that are numerous year if not several decades out of date.  It matters: Reforms at the DoJ and FTC since the 1990s, which were intended to increase the independence of the agencies from the political process, suggest that findings should change with more up-to-date data; conversely, a finding that the reforms have not succeeded would have considerable importance for public policy.  Several of the planned papers on the domestic politics of U.S. antitrust enforcement will therefore begin by replicating or reproducing classic studies of the domestic politics of U.S. antitrust with the goal of identifying and explaining significant changes in the U.S. antitrust regime, making use of the wealth of new data generated by the U.S. component of the associated Data Project (see separate pages) and new data collected by Prof. Büthe and his students and research teams in various contexts.  Other papers will analyze previously unexamined aspects of the politics of U.S. antitrust, drawing on extensive new data on various aspects of U.S. politics.
Currently, data gathering and/or clean-up is still underway; information about papers will be forthcoming when we move from data-generation to -analysis.