Antitrust policy and the economic analysis of related issues in the food channel have attracted the attention of agricultural economists since the passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890. In this paper we endeavor to provide some information on the actual operation of antitrust policies in the food system and the more general economy during the 1980s. Mergers and acquisitions restructured many American industries during the decade. This review of actual conduct is a fitting prologue for our subsequent discussion of the federal merger guidelines and federal policy on price discrimination. Thus, this paper is organized into two sections. The first section reviews actual antitrust and merger activity during the 1980s. The scone section provides a review of the recent federal merger guidelines and the evolution of the price discrimination laws.


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