Lina Khan

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Lina Khan
Lina Khan, FTC Chair (cropped).jpg
Official portrait, 2021
Chair of the Federal Trade Commission
Assumed office
June 15, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
Preceded byRebecca Slaughter (acting)
Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission
Assumed office
June 15, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
Preceded byJoseph Simons
Personal details
Born (1989-03-03) March 3, 1989 (age 33)
London, England
EducationWilliams College (BA)
Exeter College, Oxford
Yale University (JD)
WebsitePersonal website

Lina M. Khan (born March 3, 1989) is a British-born American legal scholar serving as chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission since 2021. While a student at Yale Law School, she became known for her work in antitrust and competition law in the United States after publishing the influential essay "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox".[1] She was nominated by President Joe Biden to the Commission in March 2021, and has served since June 2021 following her confirmation. She is also an associate professor of law at Columbia Law School.

Early life and education[edit]

Khan was born on March 3, 1989, in London, England, to a British family of Pakistani origin.[2][3]  Khan grew up in Golders Green in the London Borough of Barnet. Her parents, a management consultant and an employee of Thomson Reuters, respectively, moved to the United States when she was 11 years old. The family settled in Mamaroneck, New York, where she and her brother attended public school.[4] Khan said that her parents experienced racism and xenophobia in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.[5]

At Mamaroneck High School, Khan was involved in the student newspaper.[6] After high school, Khan studied political science at Williams College in Massachusetts. As a visiting exchange student, she also attended the University of Oxford as an undergraduate member of Exeter College.[7] Khan served as editor of the Williams College student newspaper and wrote her senior thesis on Hannah Arendt. She graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts.

Advocacy and academic career[edit]

From 2010 to 2014, Khan worked at the New America Foundation, where she engaged in anti-monopoly research and writing for Barry Lynn at the Open Markets Program.[8] Lynn was looking for a researcher without a background in economics, and he began critiquing market consolidation with Khan's help.[8]

As a result of her work at the Open Markets Institute, Khan was offered a reporting position at The Wall Street Journal, where she would have covered commodities. During the same period, Khan was offered admission into Yale Law School. Describing it as "a real 'choose the path' moment", Khan ultimately chose to enroll at Yale.[4]

Khan served as a submissions editor for the Yale Journal on Regulation. She went on to graduate from Yale in 2017 with a Juris Doctor degree.[2][9]

"Amazon's Antitrust Paradox"[edit]

Khan in 2016, speaking on a panel about Amazon and antitrust law

In 2017, during her third year at Yale Law School, the Yale Law Journal published Khan's student article "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox".[10] The article made a significant impact in American legal and business circles, and the New York Times described it as "reframing decades of monopoly law".[2]

In the article, Khan argued that the current American antitrust law framework, which focuses on keeping consumer prices down, cannot account for the anticompetitive effects of platform-based business models such as that of Amazon. The title of Khan's piece was a reference to Robert Bork's 1978 book The Antitrust Paradox, which established the consumer-welfare standard that Khan critiqued.[8] She proposed alternative frameworks for antitrust policy, including "restoring traditional antitrust and competition policy principles or applying common carrier obligations and duties."[10][8]

For "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox", Khan won the Antitrust Writing Award for "Best Academic Unilateral Conduct Article" in 2018,[11] the Israel H. Peres Prize by Yale Law School,[11] and the Michael Egger Prize from the Yale Law Journal.[11]


The article was met with both acclaim and criticism. As of September 2018, it received 146,255 hits, "a runaway best-seller in the world of legal treatises," according to the New York Times.[2] Makan Delrahim, then serving as Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division under Donald Trump, praised Khan for her “fresh thinking on how our legal tools apply to new digital platforms.”[12]

Joshua Wright, who served on the FTC from 2013 to 2015, derided her work as "hipster antitrust" and argued it "reveal[ed] a profound lack of understanding of the consumer welfare model and the rule of reason framework."[13] Herbert Hovenkamp wrote that Khan's claims are "technically undisciplined, untestable, and even incoherent", and that her work "never explains how a nonmanufacturing retailer such as Amazon could ever recover its investment in below cost pricing by later raising prices, and even disputes that raising prices to higher levels ever needs to be a part of the strategy, thus indicating that it is confusing predation with investment."[14]

Open Markets Institute and Columbia Law School[edit]

After graduating from law school, Khan worked as legal director at the Open Markets Institute. The institute split from New America after Khan and her team criticized Google's market power, prompting pressure from Google, a funder of New America.[15] During her time at OMI, Khan met with Senator Elizabeth Warren to discuss anti-monopolistic policy ideas.[16]

Khan joined Columbia Law School as an academic fellow, where she pursued research and scholarship on antitrust law and competition policy, especially relating to digital platforms.[11] She published The Separation of Platforms and Commerce in the Columbia Law Review, making the case for structural separations that prohibit dominant intermediaries from entering lines of business that place them in direct competition with the businesses dependent on their networks.[17] In July 2020, Khan joined the school's faculty as an associate professor of law.[18]

Khan has described herself as belonging to the New Brandeis movement, a political movement that seeks a revival in antitrust enforcement.[19]

Early government service[edit]

In 2018, Khan worked as a legal fellow at the Federal Trade Commission in the office of Commissioner Rohit Chopra.[20] In 2019, she began serving as counsel to the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, where she led the congressional investigation into digital markets.[21]

Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)[edit]

On March 22, 2021, President Joe Biden announced that he was nominating Khan to be a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission.[22][23] On June 15, 2021, her nomination was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 69 to 28.[24] Khan was confirmed with bipartisan support, mainly attributed to her "influential anti-Amazon views" being widely reflected in Congress.[25] President Biden then appointed her chairperson of the FTC.[26] Upon taking office, Khan became the third Asian-American to serve on the FTC, after Dennis Yao (who served from 1991 to 1994) and her former boss Rohit Chopra (who has served from 2018 to present).[27]

Recusal request[edit]

Following her appointment as chairperson, both Inc.[28] and Facebook,[29] filed petitions with the FTC seeking her recusal from investigations of the companies, suggesting that her past criticism of the companies left her unable to be impartial. However, according to legal scholar Eleanor Fox, the standard for recusal is very high and unlikely to be met for Khan.[30] Senator Elizabeth Warren and other supporters of Khan argued that the recusal demands amount to an attempt by these companies to intimidate Khan in order to curtail regulatory scrutiny.[31]


In 2018 Politico described Khan as "a leader of a new school of antitrust thought" as part of its "Politico 50" list of influential thinkers.[32] New York magazine said she was "indisputably the most powerful figure in the anti-monopoly vanguard".[33] She was also listed as one of Foreign Policy's "Global Thinkers,"[34] Prospect's "Top 50 Thinkers,"[35] Wired's WIRED25,[36] the National Journal 50,[37] Washingtonian's list of most influential women,[38] and Time's "Next Generation Leaders."[39]

Personal life[edit]

Khan is married to Shah Ali, a cardiologist at Columbia University in Manhattan.[40]


  • Khan, Lina M. (January 2017). "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox". Yale Law Journal. 126 (3): 710–805. Archived from the original on April 23, 2021.
  • ——— (March 1, 2018). "The New Brandeis Movement: America's Antimonopoly Debate". Journal of European Competition Law & Practice. 9 (3): 131–132. doi:10.1093/jeclap/lpy020.
  • ——— (June 4, 2018). "The Ideological Roots of America's Market Power Problem". The Yale Law Journal Forum. 127. Archived from the original on April 21, 2021.
  • ——— (July 2018). "Download Sources of Tech Platform Power" (PDF). Georgetown Law Technology Review. 2: 325–334.
  • ——— (May 2019). "The Separation of Platforms and Commerce" (PDF). Columbia Law Review. 119 (4): 973–1098. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 10, 2021.
  • ——— (July 2019). "Competition Issues in Digital Markets". Competition Law & Policy Debate. 5 (2): 66–70. doi:10.4337/clpd.2019.02.09. ISSN 2405-481X.
  • ——— (Winter 2019). "Comment on Daniel A. Crane: A Premature Postmortem on the Chicago School of Antitrust". Business History Review. 93 (4): 777–779. doi:10.1017/S000768051900151X. S2CID 214322820.
  • ——— (March 2020). "The End of Antitrust History Revisited [reviews]" (PDF). Harvard Law Review. 133 (5): 1655–1683. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 18, 2020.

Co-authored works[edit]


  1. ^ Khan, Lina M. (January 2017). "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox". Yale Law Journal. 126 (3): 564–907. Archived from the original on April 5, 2017. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d Streitfeld, David (September 7, 2018). "Amazon's Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  3. ^ Khan, Lina (March 28, 2021). "Senate Commerce Committee Nominee Questionnaire, 117th Congress". United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Archived from the original on April 21, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Kolhatkar, Sheelah (November 25, 2021). "Lina Khan's Battle to Rein in Big Tech". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  5. ^ "The education of Lina Khan, Big Tech's biggest critic". U2B. June 25, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  6. ^ Mohn, Tanya (October 17, 2004). "A Tempest In a Coffee Shop". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  7. ^ "Exeter College Association: Register 2008" (PDF). Retrieved November 28, 2022.
  8. ^ a b c d "Lina Khan's Battle to Rein in Big Tech". The New Yorker. November 25, 2021. Retrieved November 29, 2021.
  9. ^ "Title Page". Yale Journal on Regulation. 33: [i]. 2016.
  10. ^ a b Khan, Lina M. (January 2017). "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox". Yale Law Journal. 126 (3): 564–907. Archived from the original on April 5, 2017. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  11. ^ a b c d "Lina Khan". Source of the Week. January 4, 2019. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  12. ^ Scola, Nancy. "FTC Democrat hires tech industry critic who's taken aim at Amazon". POLITICO. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  13. ^ "Requiem for a Paradox: The Dubious Rise and Inevitable Fall of Hipster Antitrust". Arizona State Law Journal. May 7, 2019.
  14. ^ Hovenkamp, Herbert (December 1, 2018). "Whatever Did Happen to the Antitrust Movement?". Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law.
  15. ^ Meyer, Robinson (June 12, 2018). "How to Fight Amazon (Before You Turn 29)". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  16. ^ Kolhatkar, Sheelah (August 20, 2019). "How Elizabeth Warren Came Up with a Plan to Break Up Big Tech". The New Yorker. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  17. ^ Khan, Lina M. (2019). "The Separation of Platforms and Commerce". Columbia Law Review. 119 (4): 973.
  18. ^ Columbia Law School (July 6, 2020). "Dean Gillian Lester announced that Lina Khan will join the Columbia Law faculty as an associate professor of law this fall. Khan is one of the leaders of an antitrust movement challenging some of the world's most powerful corporations". Twitter. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  19. ^ Khan, Lina (March 1, 2018). "The New Brandeis Movement: America's Antimonopoly Debate". Journal of European Competition Law & Practice. 9 (3): 131–132. doi:10.1093/jeclap/lpy020. ISSN 2041-7764.
  20. ^ "About". Lina Khan. Archived from the original on September 9, 2018. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  21. ^ Lohr, Steve (December 8, 2019). "This Man May Be Big Tech's Biggest Threat". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  22. ^ Kelly, Makena (March 22, 2021). "Biden to nominate tech antitrust pioneer Lina Khan for FTC commissioner". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  23. ^ "President Biden Announces his Intent to Nominate Lina Khan for Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission". The White House. March 22, 2021. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  24. ^ Brandom, Russell (June 15, 2021). "Tech antitrust pioneer Lina Khan confirmed as FTC commissioner". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  25. ^ Brandom, Russell (June 30, 2021). "Amazon says new FTC chair shouldn't regulate it because she's too mean". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  26. ^ McCabe, David (June 15, 2021). "Biden Names Lina Khan, a Big-Tech Critic, as F.T.C. Chair". The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  27. ^ Birnbaum, Emily. "What to watch at Lina Khan's confirmation hearing". POLITICO. Retrieved September 11, 2021.
  28. ^ Kendall, Brent (June 30, 2021). "Amazon Seeks Recusal of FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan in Antitrust Investigations of Company". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  29. ^ Kendall, Brent (July 14, 2021). "Facebook Seeks FTC Chair Lina Khan's Recusal in Antitrust Case". Wall Street Journal – via
  30. ^ Greene, Jay; Lerman, Rachel. "Amazon seeks recusal of FTC Chair Khan, a longtime company critic". Washington Post. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  31. ^ "Democratic senators blast Amazon, Facebook's efforts to 'bully' FTC over antitrust case". The Daily Dot. August 5, 2021. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  32. ^ "Lina Khan". Source of the Week. January 4, 2019. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  33. ^ Scola, Nancy (October 27, 2021). "Lina Khan Isn't Worried About Going Too Far". Intelligencer. New York. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  34. ^ "Foreign Policy's 100 Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  35. ^ Team, Prospect. "The world's top 50 thinkers 2019". Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  36. ^ "WIRED25: Stories of People Who Are Racing to Save Us". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  37. ^ "Lina Khan – National Journal 50". Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  38. ^ "Washington's Most Powerful Women". Washingtonian. October 1, 2019. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  39. ^ Semuels, Alana. "This Legal Scholar Has Some Bold Ideas For How to Take on Major Companies Like Amazon". Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  40. ^ Streitfeld, David (September 7, 2018). "Amazon's Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 8, 2018.

External links[edit]