You are on page 1of 4

Research Proposal

Ilhaam Lakhani
Independent Research GT
2018-2019

Title:​ The Methodology to Reform the Cynical Actions of Amazon’s Monopoly:


Introduction and Overview of Research:
The research conducted for this project focuses on merger reviews and antitrust laws.
Despite the antitrust laws, monopolies such as Amazon continuously grow, enabling them to
garner power, averting the possibility of healthy competition between companies. Because of
loopholes presented in the definition of a monopoly, companies easily can avoid being regulated
by the government. The effects on the economy are detrimental. Not only do monopolies result
in the closure of businesses, but employees become jobless, market failure occurs, and
consumers are subjected to higher prices of products, once all competition in the market has been
eliminated. Thus, the definition of a monopoly and the process and regulation of merger reviews
need to be re-assessed to reveal hidden faults, so as to inhibit the growth of monopolies.
Background and Rationale:
Monopolies are not a current, uprising issue that society is facing for the first time. It has
been relevant throughout the United States’s history, as seen with the Sherman Antitrust Act of
1890 and the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914. Both laws sought to terminate the dominance of
monopolies, however failing because of the inadequate manner in which the laws were written.
The first law, because of loosely phrased words, failed to prevent companies, such as the
American Sugar Refining Company, from concentrating almost all the sugar available for
purchase in the United States (“Sherman Antitrust Act”, 2019). Not only do the loosely phrased
words in a law contribute to the continued collectivization of power for monopolies, but the
definition of a monopoly is also flawed itself. An economist's perspective for what is considered
a monopoly resides in two components: short-term consumer welfare and market share. Though
both are definitely viable factors to consider, firm size, concentration levels, and regulation over
the number of processes and departments a company controls are important as well. (Khan,
2017).
The inefficacy of not implementing rigorous scrutiny over merger reviews results in the
failure to control monopolies efficiently. Not only are, “Mergers over a certain size–currently
about $85 million--are required to pre-notify the antitrust agencies, after which the agencies
decide which to formally investigate.” (Kwoka, 2018). Not all the cases of merger reviews are
being assessed, meaning there are many cases of monopolies being pushed aside. Additionally,
not only have mergers become more complex in evaluating whether it is harmful, as the number
of merger cases increased, “the number investigated has only been an increase of 42 to 51.
Furthermore, the percent of investigates has dropped from 3.8% to 2.6%” (Kwoka, 2018).
Monopolies, “are much more dominant than they were even 15 years ago” (Leonhardt,
2018). It is vital that monopolies be dissolved immediately, as they have detrimental effects on
society. With monopolies, there is a possibility of a reduction in, “greater product variety, higher
product quality, and greater innovation, which drives productivity growth and helps lift living
standards.” (Khan, 2017). Based on the preceding statement, consumers are at risk of not
receiving high-quality products. Markets are prone to danger as, “With higher prices, consumers
will demand less quantity, and thus the quantity produced and consumed will be lower than it
would be under a more competitive market Structure” (Thoma, 2014). Thus, both consumers and
markets are both being affected as high prices, restrict the number of products consumers can
buy, which also results in the market not functioning as it should be. Moreover, businesses are
getting closed down due to unhealthy/ no competition and consequently, employees are losing
their jobs affecting their homes and families. A single monopoly in a field can affect the lives of
many in several different ways, this action needs to be taken immediately.
Research Methodology:
The ​Research Question​ is: how can the antitrust laws and merger reviews be reformed, so
monopolies like Amazon cannot find loopholes within the definition of a monopoly, thus
promoting competition? The Research Thesis is: the antitrust laws need to be revised in order to
include a ban on vertical integration, impose a prophylactic limit, a public utility regulation, and
a reform on predatory pricing. Furthermore, any merger should be reviewed, and the process
needs to be less convoluted and expensive. With the new revisions, monopolies undoubtedly will
be reduced leading to a free, productive market.
The research analyzes the two flaws, which result in the growth of monopolies: the
definition of a monopoly and merger reviews. The research will be based on four articles, which
have conducted studies on the exact topic as the one presented in this research proposal, and each
article examines critical issues with monopolies and proposes different reforms for each flaw
pointed out.
The ​Research Design Model​: Meta-analysis was conducted on the four quantitative and
qualitative studies looked at. For the Data Collection, meta-aanlysis was the best type of research
suited for the research topic. Meta-analysis gave the option to look at past failures of specific
laws, and the solutions presented by other researchers. Then using that information, it can be
used to formulate a new law, which would make sure to include certain regulations, which
previoulsy had not been there, allowing monopolies to grow. The two variables presented are the
type of regulation on a monopoly/certain rules on merger reviews which is the independent
variable. Those rules affect the number of monopolies in the economy, making the dependent
variable the number of monopolies in the economy.
The ​Data Collection​: After studying the four articles intensively, each proposed different
perspectives and ideas on ways to resolve the issues presented in the problems associated with a
monopoly. Since the topic of the research is the antitrust reform and the way the merger review
process is set up, it was not attainable for me to do the other methods of research. For surveys
and questionnaires, the general population would not have done extensive research on such a
convoluted topic of law. Furthermore, for data collection, an original experiment would have to
be conducted. In order to test out an experiment, the laws passed so far and the way the merger
reviews are being set up would have to be manipulated, to see what changes improve the
reduction of monopolies. However, as a person with no access to the power to change the laws, it
was not realistically attainable. Lastly, there are surveys which could have been a possible option
for; however, meta-analysis gave the option to look at past research conducted by professionals
in the specific field, and see the failures and successes discussed.
Product Objective:
The conclusions that have been made, after rigorous examination of the four studies, will
be presented in the form of a brochure. The brochure briefly will explain to the readers the
background of monopolies. Then, the brochure will delve into each specific section for the
solution of the research topic, including imposing a prophylactic limit, imposing a public utility
regulation, improving regulation/review overall mergers, reforming the predatory pricing
document, and banning vertical integration. It will also explain how the reform should be
implemented, and the benefits of the reform. Thus, the brochure makes it easy for the audience to
easily flow through all the heavy information given to them.
The target audience for the product is ideal for lawyers specialized in the field of
Antitrust Law, as they can easily access the brochure and refer to it when attempting to reform
the antitrust laws. Furthermore, by sending brochures, it is easy to spread the information
throughout the country, by emailing it.
Logistical Considerations:
In order to create the brochure, there needs to be an available template online, which can
be found on Pages. There also will be a timeline included that outlines the data collection,
product development, and audience distribution.

(On the next page is the feedback/approval from the advisor)