The US meatpacking industry has become concentrated to a degree not experienced since the days of the 'Beef trust' a century ago. A number of mainstream studies have investigated if such concentration has been detrimental to competition. Just as earlier studies may have helped shape competition policy towards meatpacking a century ago, contemporary studies have made their way into current discussions and may shape competition policy at the turn of this century. This paper asks whether or not contemporary studies are useful in informing competition policy. After comparing how competition looks from the econometric vantage point with how it looks from the vantage point of the industry's 300-yr history, this article concludes that mainstream studies are more useful for a competition policy targeting conduct rather than structure. Published by Elsevier Science B.V.


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