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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Questions & Answers

John Asker is a professor of economics at UCLA and a senior adviser at Cornerstone Research. He is an expert in antitrust and competition economics. He has testified as an expert witness and served as an economic consultant to several government agencies. Professor Asker has written on the impacts of market power, vertical market structure, and cartels, from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. His research includes studies of financial markets, commodities, transportation and consumer goods.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE?

I have been fortunate to have been a research academic for my entire career. After I completed my PhD in economics at Harvard in 2004, I became a professor of economics at the Stern School of Business at New York University. I remained at NYU until 2015, when I went to the University of California, Los Angeles.  

During my career, I have had the freedom to explore ideas that are important for the development of policy, but I’ve also had space to get involved in the administration of policy from time to time. For example, I have served as an economic consultant/adviser to federal and state regulatory agencies, including the US Federal Communications Commission, the US Federal Trade Commission and the antitrust bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General. I have also provided expert testimony in matters involving antitrust, competition, and regulatory issues, including mergers.

SINCE YOU BEGAN WORKING IN THE FIELD, HOW WOULD YOU SAY THE ROLE OF THE COMPETITION ECONOMIST HAS DEVELOPED?

The technical side of the field is rapidly changing. The analytical tools that can be deployed in regulatory and litigation settings continue to develop and expand, and empirical data are both more available and more numerous. As a result, the range of material an economist needs to be conversant in has increased markedly. 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES FACING COMPETITION ECONOMISTS?

The central challenge continues to be the clear communication of informative economic analysis. A particular manifestation of this challenge arises in data-rich settings. With a large amount of data, the inclination could be to expect that every question can be neatly answered. Distinguishing between the volume of data, and the informativeness of data – understanding what questions the data can address in a specific context – can take considerable thought.

WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE MATTER THAT YOU HAVE WORKED ON?

In one case, it wasn’t only what was happening inside the courtroom, but what was occurring just outside of it. The first time I testified, there was a massive thunderstorm going on behind me. All I could see were the expressions of the counsel in the room who had a front-row seat to the drama. The roar of the storm was so deafening at times that I was asked to repeat parts of my testimony. It made for an unusually challenging environment – not only for me, but also for everyone in the room! 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER ECONOMISTS LOOKING TO SPECIALISE IN COMPETITION-RELATED MATTERS?

First, think about what really interests and inspires you. As a researcher, you want to be able to explore ideas that you feel are important for the development of policy. Second, in the areas you pursue, knowing the history and current environment of government regulations will allow you to provide solid and robust economic insight that can inform policy. Finally, take the time to understand the legal structure within which competition matters are resolved. Understanding the broader policy and legal contexts makes it easier to anticipate the types of economic analyses that will be relevant.

Global Leader

Competition - Economists 2019

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

John Asker draws widespread praise from peers who applaud his deep understanding of antitrust policy and strong testifying experience.

Biography

John Asker is an expert in antitrust and competition economics. He has testified as an expert witness and served as an economic consultant and adviser to both US federal and state regulatory agencies.

Professor Asker conducts research related to antitrust policy, cartel behaviour, vertical restraints, auction design, firm-level productivity and the effects of industry subsidies. He also has expertise at the intersection of financial markets and antitrust.

Professor Asker served as an expert for the US Federal Communications Commission in the matter of the AT&T–DirecTV merger. He has co-authored several amicus briefs presented before the US Supreme Court and federal appellate courts.
He has held editorial positions at the American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, the RAND Journal of Economics and the Journal of Industrial Economics. His research has been published in leading economics journals, including the Journal of Political Economy and the American Economic Review.
Professor Asker has taught graduate-level courses in antitrust policy, industrial organisation and strategy. He also regularly lectures on antitrust topics, including to US federal agencies, as part of the American Bar Association’s continuing legal education programmes, and as a participant in academic conferences. Professor Asker has been a visiting scholar at the US Federal Trade Commission’s bureau of economics, the Department of Economics at Harvard, and Yale Law School. Before joining the faculty of UCLA, he was an associate professor of economics at the Stern School of Business at New York University.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

John Asker is a dedicated competition economist who offers clients his deep knowledge in a range of antitrust matters.

Biography

John Asker is an expert in antitrust and competition economics. He has testified as an expert witness and served as an economic consultant and adviser to both US federal and state regulatory agencies.

Professor Asker conducts research related to antitrust policy, cartel behaviour, vertical restraints, auction design, firm-level productivity and the effects of industry subsidies. He also has expertise at the intersection of financial markets and antitrust.

Professor Asker served as an expert for the US Federal Communications Commission in the matter of the AT&T–DirecTV merger. He has co-authored several amicus briefs presented before the US Supreme Court and federal appellate courts.
He has held editorial positions at the American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, the RAND Journal of Economics and the Journal of Industrial Economics. His research has been published in leading economics journals, including the Journal of Political Economy and the American Economic Review.
Professor Asker has taught graduate-level courses in antitrust policy, industrial organisation and strategy. He also regularly lectures on antitrust topics, including to US federal agencies, as part of the American Bar Association’s continuing legal education programmes, and as a participant in academic conferences. Professor Asker has been a visiting scholar at the US Federal Trade Commission’s bureau of economics, the Department of Economics at Harvard, and Yale Law School. Before joining the faculty of UCLA, he was an associate professor of economics at the Stern School of Business at New York University.

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