Northwestern Prof chosen to head economic analysis at DOJ Antitrust Divison

Northwestern Prof. Aviv Nevo has been tapped as the new head of the economic analysis unit at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.

Courtesy of University Relations

Northwestern Prof. Aviv Nevo has been tapped as the new head of the economic analysis unit at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.

Amy Whyte, Reporter

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division last week named Northwestern economics Prof. Aviv Nevo the new deputy assistant general for economic analysis.

Nevo will assist with the department’s primary work of evaluating proposed business mergers and ensuring that antitrust laws are upheld. He will take leave from the University to begin his term as the deputy assistant general on April 1 of this year.

“I think he’s a good choice,” said NU economics Prof. Robert Porter, Nevo’s colleague. “He’s well suited to the kind of tasks that are going to confront the antitrust division of the Justice Department over the next year or so.”

With several big mergers currently in the works, including upcoming mergers within the airline and brewing industries, Porter said it’s “important that the Justice Department do a thorough and careful review.”

“Aviv (Nevo) has exactly the right expertise to oversee those efforts,” he said.

Nevo said the work he will be doing at his new position will relate closely to the research he has done at NU. He specializes in industrial organization, a category that antitrust work falls under.

“It’s basically looking at how industries are organized, what the market structure is, what the pricing structure is, and the implications it has for consumers,” Nevo said. “Antitrust is one particular subfield within all that.”

Nevo said this will be his first time working directly with the government. He worked as an economics professor at University of California, Berkley before coming to NU and works currently as a research associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research in addition to his job as a professor.

Bill Baer, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Antitrust Division, said in a press release sent out to Justice Department employees Feb. 19 that Nevo was chosen because he would bring “a wealth of knowledge and insightful analysis” to the staff.

“He is widely regarded as an intellectual pioneer in the use of data to analyze consumer preferences, which is fundamental to many of our enforcement matters,” Baer said in the release. “The division is fortunate to have his expertise guiding our economic analysis.”

Baer said he would consult with Nevo for advice on handling both merger and civil non-merger investigations.

Nevo said he is unsure when he will be returning to NU, because the length of the time he will be working with the antitrust division has not yet been set.

“It’s a little bit to be determined, it’s a little open-ended,” Nevo said. “But it’s gonna be for a while.”

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