The market power of online platforms raises concerns that they may engage in anti-competitive practices, but traditional (ex-post) antitrust intervention will be less effective in markets driven by network effects unless it is combined with a proper (ex-ante) regulatory framework. Intervention should not reduce value creation, should focus on fair sharing of value, and should eliminate incentives for anti-competitive strategies.
During this event, Thomas Philippon presented his thesis on market concentration and explained the reasons behind the rising corporate market power in the US.
Senator Elizabeth Warren proposes the break-up of big tech companies. A report for the UK government presents another approach for regulating the digital economy. And IMF research serves as a reminder that concentration of market power extends beyond digital. This blog reviews the debate.
Following the announcement that Alphabet (Google) will appeal the European Commission's ruling on the competition case against its Android mobile operating system, the authors here assess Google's compliance while its appeal is pending as well as the likelihood of a net positive outcome for societal welfare.
Following our past events on the topic of antitrust concerns in zero price markets and on big data, digital platforms and market competition, this November we are hosting an event on antitrust concerns in the digital markets.
Plenty of recent research has highlighted a rise in concentration in the US economy, across different sectors. Economists are now wondering to what extent this is attributable to a shift in the antitrust enforcement philosophy. We review contributions to this debate.
On March 2, 2016, the German Federal Cartel Office opened an antitrust investigation into Facebook’s contract clauses on data use, in what appears to be the first antitrust case in Europe based on a breach of data protection rules. We discuss the link between data protection rules and competition policy, which is still underexplored.
The paper investigates the distortions that national competition authorities generate when they pursue non-competitive goals in favour of domestic firms, and discusses ways to address this negative policy development in a globalised world.
Growth & Innovation
Based on a dataset of manufacturing sectors from five major European economies (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) between 2000 and 2011, we identify a number of key sector-level features that, according to established economic research, have a positive impact on the likelihood of collusion. Each feature is proxied by an ‘Antitrust Risk […]
Bruegel fellow Mario Mariniello discusses his latest paper, "Commitments or prohibition? The EU antitrust dilemma." He analyses the different implications of settling a case in exchange for a commitment of the company under investigation as opposed to applying formal sanctions. Using the European Commission’s case against Google as an example, he calls for more transparency […]
Commitments have a cost: commitments are voluntary and are unlikely to be subject to judicial review. This reduces the European Commission’s incentive to build a robust case. Because commitment decisions do not establish any legal precedent, they provide for little guidance on the interpretation of the law.