Open Pricing Agreements and the Dissemination of Data under the Combines Investigation Act


  • R. S. Nozick



Attempts to enforce the prohibition against price fixing in the Combines Investiga tion Act have resulted in confusion regarding the distinction between actual price fixing agreements, open pricing agreements and data dissemination agreements. This confusion arises due to the similarity in the motivation for entering into the three types of agreements and in the consequences of the agreements. The author considers the legality and the ramifications for competition policy of agreements facilitative of open pricing. Most open pricing agreements are probably illegal under the Combines Investigation Act, Mr. Nozick concludes, and almost all such agree ments are harmful and should be prohibited. Data dissemination agreements, while probably not illegal, have anti-competitive effects, and accordingly should be regulated.