Photo of Daniel P. O

Selected Expertise

  • Business strategy
  • Econometrics
  • Game theory
  • Industrial organization
  • Microeconomics

Daniel P. O'Brien, PhD


Daniel P. O’Brien is 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. As Deputy Director for Antitrust at the FTC, he was responsible for overseeing 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 has presented his research at numerous universities and conferences around the world. His widely-published 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; and partial ownership, which is used by antitrust authorities to analyze the competitive effects of joint ventures and partial acquisitions. That work was also the first to explain the role of price pressure indices in analyzing the effects of partial or complete mergers between producers of differentiated products. His current research includes work on conditional pricing practices (share-based discounts, exclusive dealing, and tying and bundling), cross ownership by institutional investors, and the economics of privacy and disclosure, all topics motivated by his work at the antitrust agencies.

Prior to joining Bates White, Dr. O’Brien taught economics at Northwestern, Michigan, Georgetown Law School, the University of Verona, Italy, and most recently the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, where he was a Visiting Professor of Business Economics. He has presented internal workshops on the economics of vertical restraints and horizontal mergers to economists at the FTC and DOJ. He has been a frequent adviser to and presenter before foreign antitrust and regulatory authorities, including those in the European Union, South Korea, Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, and the Czech Republic. 


  • PhD, Economics, Northwestern University
  • MA, Economics, Northwestern University
  • BA, Economics, Carleton College, Magna Cum Laude