In the past few years, “kidfluencers,” or children with large social media followings, have been integral to the rise of an “$8-billion social media advertising industry. The most successful kidfluencers make up to “$26 million in a year by posting sponsored content and monetizing ad space on their social media pages. Because kidfluencers have no legal right to these earnings or safe working conditions, the risk of exploitation is extreme and immediate. Still, the issue is nuanced because parents significantly control the production of their children’s online content, and states are limited in how much they may regulate a parent’s decisions in raising their child.
For more than 150 years, companies called “heir hunters” have operated in the shadows of the court system. Heir hunters monitor probate filings to identify intestate decedents who have missing or unknown relatives. They then perform genealogical research, locate the decedent’s kin, and offer to inform them about their inheritance rights in exchange for a share of the property. States are sharply divided about whether to enforce contracts between heir hunters and heirs. This discord stems from the fact that we know virtually nothing about heir hunting.
A symposium examining the contributions of the post-Chicago School provides an appropriate opportunity to offer some thoughts on both the past and the future of antitrust. This afterword reviews the excellent papers presented with an eye toward appreciating the contributions and limitations of both the Chicago School, in terms of promoting the consumer welfare standard and embracing price theory as the preferred mode of economic analysis, and the post-Chicago School, with its emphasis on game theory and firm-level strategic conduct. It then explores two emerging trends, specifically neo-Brandeisian advocacy for abandoning consumer welfare as the sole goal of antitrust and the increasing emphasis on empirical analyses.