Cristina Caffarra, Fiona Scott Morton, 05 January 2021

The European Commission has finally issued the proposed Digital Markets Act, its bid to complement antitrust intervention in digital markets with ex-ante regulation in the form of a set of obligations that platforms identified as “gatekeepers” should abide by. This column argues that the current proposal makes good progress, but lacks the translation tools to map the rules from the settings that inspired them to other businesses that are deemed gatekeepers, that the rules may not do enough to recognise the direct consumer harm that flows from the exploitation of data and the extraction and appropriation of consumer value, and that merger control remains a significant lacuna in the Commission’s digital regime that will need to be addressed separately. In contrast, the UK CMA proposals condition the rules on business models and fold merger control into the digital regime. 

Jorge Padilla, Joe Perkins, Salvatore Piccolo, 22 October 2020

Alleged market abuse by technology firms with large bases of loyal customers has become a pressing policy concern. This column argues that significant consumer harm can result from the attempts of these ‘gatekeeper platforms’ to gain revenue from their installed bases of platform users at the expense of third-party firms offering complementary services. The authors suggest possible ways forward for competition authorities currently considering new regulation of digital markets.

Elena Argentesi, Paolo Buccirossi, Emilio Calvano, Tomaso Duso, Alessia Marrazzo, Salvatore Nava, 04 March 2020

Dominant companies in the digital market may use merger and acquisitions – especially ‘killer’ or ‘zombie’ acquisitions – and the (under)enforcement of merger control to stifle competition and cement their market dominance. This column analyses acquisition activity by Amazon, Facebook, and Google between 2008 and 2018, and finds that they often targeted very young firms. Because the evolution of young firms is still uncertain, it is difficult for competition authorities to assess the effects of these mergers, especially when the focus is on single acquisitions without considering the overall acquisition strategy.

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The intensive course in Competition in Digital Markets will be held at the Barcelona GSE from November 20 to 22, 2019. This course offers the opportunity to understand how the digital economy works, and under what conditions competition may not function as it should in this sector. It provides participants with a thorough understanding of how to evaluate the substitutability between different offerings and when to view practices such as tying, exclusive contracts, price-parity clauses, and discriminatory access to platforms as anti-competitive (but also explain in what circumstances they are likely to be beneficial).

Course lecturers includes leading international competition scholars and practitioners with extensive experience of the application of economic techniques to competition cases in this area:

Giulio Federico (Head of Unit, CET, DG Competition European Commission)

Chiara Fumagalli (Associate Professor of Economics, Bocconi University)

Massimo Motta (Professor of Economics, ICREA-UPF and Barcelona GSE; former Chief Competition Economist, European Commission) - course director

Martin Peitz (Professor of Economics, University of Mannheim)

An Early Bird discount will be offered to participants confirming their attendance before October 20. A reduced course fee is also available to Regulators, Competition Authorities, Academics and Barcelona GSE Alumni.

Events

CEPR Policy Research