Daniel P. O’Brien is a Senior Consultant at Compass Lexecon with extensive government experience. He a former Senior Economic Policy Adviser and Deputy Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Economics, and former Chief of the Economic Regulatory Section at the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. While at the FTC, he oversaw the economic analysis in all of the agency’s antitrust investigations. He has led investigations across a wide range of industries, including mobile telephone and internet services, car rental services, retail products manufacturing and distribution, software, futures exchanges, banking, wholesale distribution, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, broadcast television, cable and satellite television programming and distribution, academic journals, aluminum manufacturing, and telecommunications, among others.
Dr. O’Brien presents his antitrust research at various conferences and universities around the world. His research has affected how antitrust agencies approach competition issues, including: vertical restraints in environments with bilateral contracts, which illuminates conditions under which restraints can have pro-competitive and anti-competitive effects; critical loss analysis, which showed how to properly apply this tool to assess market power and competitive effects; partial ownership, which developed tools used by antitrust authorities to analyze the competitive effects of joint ventures and partial acquisitions; and all-units discounts, which established conditions under which these pricing strategies solve incentive problems in vertical contracting. His research on partial ownership was the first to explain the role of price pressure indices in analyzing the effects of partial or complete mergers between producers of differentiated products. Currently, Dr. O’Brien is working on conditional pricing practices (share-based discounts, exclusive dealing, and tying and bundling), common ownership by institutional investors, and the economics of privacy and disclosure, all topics motivated by his work at the antitrust agencies and consulting.
Prior to joining Compass Lexecon, Dr. O’Brien was a Partner at Bates White. Prior to his time at Bates White, he taught at Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, Georgetown Law School, the University of Verona, Italy, and most recently the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. In addition to his research, Dr. O’Brien has presented internal workshops on the economics of vertical restraints and horizontal mergers to economists at the FTC and DOJ. He has advised and presented before foreign antitrust and regulatory authorities, including those in the European Union, South Korea, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, and the Czech Republic.