Wednesday, January 29, 2020
BRUNO JULLIEN, University of Toulouse 1 - Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) and WILFRIED SAND‐ZANTMAN, University of Toulouse 1 - Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) offer The Economics of Platforms: A Theory Guide for Competition Policy.
ABSTRACT: Over the past 20 years, the development of the internet has transformed the global economy and had an impact on almost every aspect of our lives. Designed primarily as a means of communication, the internet has revolutionized the way we produce and exchange services and goods, whether they are digital or not. A simple comparison of the world’s most valuable companies in 2007 and in 2018 is a clear testimony of this change. Not only have standard brick-and-mortar firms progressively disappeared from the list, but companies of a new kind have emerged at the top. Since the development of computers in the 1990s, tech giants like Apple and Microsoft have taken over, at least partially, from more traditional firms operating in banking, insurance or the oil industry. But the past 15 years have seen another wave of companies – like Amazon, Alibaba, Baidu, Facebook, Google, Airbnb, Booking.com or Uber, to name a few – whose business model is mainly to facilitate interaction between individuals and/or businesses. These companies rely on different business models but they belong to the same general category, now known as platforms, and share many characteristics. The objective of this report is to discuss these common features in order to explain the functioning of markets with platforms. The main focus of this report will be on whether competition can be effective.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
PART I GENERAL PERSPECTIVES ON COMPETITION POLICY AND THE APPLICATION OF TRADITIONAL TOOLS FOR THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
1 Regulating competition in the digital economy 2
2 Taming the shrew: is there a need for a new market power definition for the digital economy? 29
Hedvig K. Schmidt
3 Competition at the dawn of artificial intelligence 71
Robin C. Feldman and Nick Thieme
4 Competition by design 93
PART II CONDUCT THAT VIOLATES ANTITRUST AND THE INTERFACE BETWEEN DATA PROTECTION RULES, OTHER SECTOR-SPECIFIC RULES, AND COMPETITION LAW
5 Privacy-as-a-quality parameter of competition 126
Samson Y. Esayas
6 How to measure privacy-related consumer harm in merger analysis? 173
7 Regulation complementing EU competition law in the digital economy 212
8 Online platforms and the Japan Fair Trade Commission: the DeNA case as an example of early market intervention 231
Steven Van Uytsel and Yoshiteru Uemura
9 The European Commission’s decision in Google Search 264
PART III REMEDIES TO BE IMPOSED IN CASE OF RESTRICTION ON DIGITAL MARKETS
10 Consent-based case resolution 303
11 Antitrust governance in an era of rapid change 325
Timo Klein, U Amsterdam shares Event Studies in Merger Analysis: Review and an Application Using U.S. Tnic Data.
ABSTRACT: There is a growing concern that U.S. merger control may have been too lenient, but empirical evidence remains limited. Event studies have been used as one method to acquire empirical insights into the competitive effects of mergers. However, existing work suffers from strong identifying assumptions, unreliable competitor identification or small samples. After reviewing the use and challenges of event studies in merger analysis, I use a novel application of Hoberg-Phillips (2010, 2016) Text-Based Network Industry Classification (TNIC) data to readily proxy a ranking of competitors to 1,751 of the largest U.S. mergers between 1997 and 2017. I document that following a merger announcement, the most likely competitors experience on average an abnormal return of around one percent. These abnormal returns are also associated with concerns of market power, which suggests that results are at least in part driven by an anticipation of anti-competitive effects, and hence insufficient merger control.
Kyle F. Herkenhoff, Gajendran Raveendranathan ask Who Bears the Welfare Costs of Monopoly? The Case of the Credit Card Industry.
ABSTRACT: How are the welfare costs from monopoly distributed across U.S. households? We answer this question for the U.S. credit card industry, which is highly concentrated, charges interest rates that are 3.4 to 8.8 percentage points above perfectly competitive pricing, and has repeatedly lost antitrust lawsuits. We depart from existing competitive models by integrating oligopolistic lenders into a heterogeneous agent, defaultable debt framework. Our model accounts for 20 to 50 percent of the spreads observed in the data. Welfare gains from competitive reforms in the 1970s are equivalent to a one-time transfer worth between 0.24 and 1.66 percent of GDP. Along the transition path, 93 percent of individuals are better off. Poor households benefit from increased consumption smoothing, while rich households benefit from higher general equilibrium interest rates on savings. Transitioning from 1970 to 2016 levels of competition yields welfare gains equivalent to a one-time transfer worth between 1.87 and 3.20 percent of GDP. Lastly, homogeneous interest rate caps in 2016 deliver limited welfare gains.
ABSTRACT: How far can suppliers prevent their retailers from engaging in the online resale of their products in the EU? This question has been widely debated by courts, antitrust enforcers, and competition professionals following the European Court of Justice (CJEU) rulings in Pierre Fabre and Coty.
Monday, January 27, 2020
The Android decision, specifically the tie of Google Play with Google Search, is best described as a case of anticompetitive creation of a position of dominance aimed at preserving an original position of dominance in an adjacent market
In practise, the defendant is prevented from preserving its core business model on a level playing field, thus raising the risks of false positives
The economic theory of harm put forward to underpin this infringement decision is incomplete, as it does not take into consideration the dynamic feature of the impugned conduct, specifically the fact that when the alleged tie was put in place the position of dominance in the tying market was far from certain
R. Andrew Butters, Thomas N. Hubbard study Industry Structure, Segmentation, and Competition in the U.S. Hotel Industry.
ABSTRACT: This paper investigates how increases in concentration can be interrupted or reversed by changes in how firms compete on quality. We examine the U.S. hotel industry during the past half century. We document that starting in the early 1980s, quality competition came more in the form of costs that vary with hotel size, and less in the form of costs that are fixed with hotel size, particularly for business travelers. We then show that, consistent with Sutton (1991), industry structure has evolved differently since then in areas that are business travel versus personal travel destinations. Demand increases have been associated with more, but smaller, hotels in business travel destinations. In contrast, the growth in the number of hotels is much smaller, and the growth in average hotel size is much greater, in personal travel destinations. We provide evidence that this change reflects the emergence of two new classes of hotels – limited service and all-suites hotels – that did not exist before the early 1980s. These entrants – many of which had high quality rooms but which had limited out-of-room amenities – had a narrower competitive impact on other hotels than did the entrants of the 1960s and 1970s, which competed more on out-of-the-room amenities, and this led the industry structure to evolve differently.
Fútbol Club Barcelona v Commission: Foul Play—if in Doubt, the Commission to Question the Evidence Submitted by the Parties
ABSTRACT: The General Court rules that the Commission should investigate beyond the evidence submitted by the parties if it is in possession of documents calling that evidence into question.
Friday, January 24, 2020
M.M. Sharma (Vaish Associates) has written on "Role of Courts in Enforcement of Competition Law in India" which was published simultaneously both in the Global Competition Litigation Review , ( 2019 Volume 12, Issue 2/ 2019) as well as in the European Competition Law Review ,( Volume 40 Issue 7 2019) . The articles can be cited as : (2019) G.C.L.R., Issue 2 © Thomson Reuters & Contributors ( Pp.57-74) and (2019) 40 E.C.L.R. Issue 7© 2019 Thomson Reuters & Contributors (Pp.312-331) .
No Forum to Rule Them All: Comity and Conflict in Transnational FRAND Disputes October 31, 2019 | 94 Wash. L. Rev. 1085
Eli Greenbaum surveys No Forum to Rule Them All: Comity and Conflict in Transnational FRAND Disputes.
Abstract: Recent years have seen an explosion in FRAND litigation, in which parties commit to license intellectual property under “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) terms, but they cannot agree on the meaning of that commitment. Much of this litigation is multinational and involves coordinating patent, antitrust, and contract claims across several jurisdictions. A number of courts and commentators have aimed to centralize and thereby streamline these disputes, whether by consolidating all litigation in one judicial forum or through the creation of a comprehensive arbitral process. This Article argues that such efforts are misguided—FRAND disputes are particularly unamenable to centralization, and the costs of centralizing FRAND disputes are high. Rather, absent other agreement between the parties, FRAND disputes should be resolved through the ordinary territorial structures of patent law, and attempts to simplify these disputes should focus on procedural and substantive coordination across jurisdictions.
Maximilian Andres, University of PotsdamLisa Bruttel, Humboldt University of Berlin, Jana Friedrichsen, German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); Humboldt University of Berlin - Faculty of Economics explore The Effect of Leniency Rule on Cartel Formation and Stability: Experiments with Open Communication.
ABSTRACT: Cartels can severely harm social welfare. Competition authorities introduced leniency rules to destabilize existing cartels and hinder the formation of new ones. Empirically, it is difficult to judge the success of these measures because functioning cartels are unobservable. Existing experimental studies confirm that a leniency rule indeed reduces cartelization. We extend these studies by having a participant in the role of the competition authority actively participating in the experiment. Based on chat communication content and price setting behavior, this authority judges whether firms formed a cartel and decides on fines in real time. We find that a leniency rule does not affect cartelization in this setup.
Thursday, January 23, 2020
Call for Papers: 18th ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATION CONFERENCE Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1-3, 2020
Elena Argentesi University of Bologna - Department of Economics Paolo Buccirossi Independent Emilio Calvano University of Bologna - Department of Economics; University of Toulouse 1 - Department of Economics; CSEF - Center for Studies in Economics and Finance Tomaso Duso German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); TU Berlin- Faculty of Economics and Management - Empirical Industrial Organization Alessia Marrazzo Lear - Laboratory of Economics, Antitrust, Regulation Salvatore Nava Lear - Laboratory of Economics, Antitrust, Regulation have produced Merger Policy in Digital Markets: An Ex-Post Assessment.
ABSTRACT: This paper presents a broad retrospective evaluation of mergers and merger decisions in the digital sector. We first discuss the most crucial features of digital markets such as network effects, multi-sidedness, big data, and rapid innovation that create important challenges for competition policy. We show that these features have been key determinants of the theories of harm in major merger cases in the past few years. We then analyse the characteristics of almost 300 acquisitions carried out by three major digital companies – Amazon, Facebook, and Google – between 2008 and 2018. We cluster target companies on their area of economic activity and show that they span a wide range of economic sectors. In most cases, their products and services appear to be complementary to those supplied by the acquirers. Moreover, target companies seem to be particularly young, being four-years-old or younger in nearly 60% of cases at the time of the acquisition. Finally, we examine two important merger cases, Facebook/Instagram and Google/Waze, providing a systematic assessment of the theories of harm considered by the UK competition authorities as well as evidence on the evolution of the market after the transactions were approved. We discuss whether the CAs performed complete and careful analyses to foresee the competitive consequences of the investigated mergers and whether a more effective merger control regime can be achieved within the current legal framework.
Manuel Peláez Muras Autonomous University of Madrid ; Banco de España studies Antitrust and Coopservice: Procurement Aggregation is A Serious Thing (Adjudicating Too).
Antritrust and Coopservice (judgment of 19 December 2018, case C-216/17) is a peculiar product of the Court of Justice. It is one of a kind in aggregate procurement, a subfield of public procurement that has remained virtually untouched by the Court. A number of very helpful and reasonable directions can be drawn from this judgment with respect to the duration and quantification of framework agreements as well as the identification of the authorities entitled to use them in the case of framework agreements concluded jointly by several authorities. At the same time, it is not a model of adjudication, incurring in some inaccuracies, obvious mistakes, and even unkindness to the referring national court. This surely make it more enjoyable to read and comment. The present paper shows the slips of the Court, while highlighting the main directions that can be extracted vis-à-vis the opera-tion of framework agreements and joint contracts.
ABSTRACT: When it comes to market definition in two-sided markets, an idea that has gained traction—among academics, competition authorities and even the US Supreme Court—is the distinction between transaction and non-transaction platforms. However, this distinction has no theoretical underpinning in the context of the hypothetical monopolist test (HMT). The hypothetical monopolist sets profit-maximising prices on both sides, as a function of own-price elasticities and externalities between the sides, regardless of whether the platform is transaction or non-transaction. I address the various theoretical and practical arguments put forward in support of the distinction between transaction and non-transaction and explain why none of these justify a different approach to market definition. I also discuss why some of the policy suggestions made by proponents of the distinction—for example, that a single market should be defined for transaction platforms but separate markets for non-transaction platforms—reflect some confusion about how the HMT works.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Csongor István Nagy, University of Szeged, Faculty of Law describes Anticompetitive Object/Effect: An Overview of EU and National Case Law.
ABSTRACT: Anticompetitive object is a key notion of EU competition law and is being remolded. This paper presents the trajectory of this process and its impact and demonstrates how this impaired the consistency and predictability of competition analysis. Section 2 gives a concise presentation of an idealized form of the pre-Allianz concept. Section 3 examines the new doctrine’s emergence in Allianz. This is followed by a presentation of its ephemeral marginalization in Cartes bancaires, MasterCard and „Maxima Latvija” (Section 4), where the Court interpreted this doctrine very restrictively and suggested that it may be used on very rare occasions, and its surge in Hoffmann-La Roche & Novartis (Section 5), where the Court failed to resists the siren song of anti-competitive object and showed how the doctrine may erode the pre-existing categories. Section 6 takes stock of the damages caused by the Allianz doctrine to consistency in object-analysis.
ABSTRACT: The General Court ruled that, in case of annulment of a cartel decision based on an inadequate statement of reasons, in addition to repaying the fine amount received, the Commission must pay default interests at the ECB refinancing rate increased by 3.5 percentage points since the date on which the applicant unduly made provisional payment of the fine in accordance with the principle of restitutio in integrum.
Devin Williams, University of Illinois; University of Florida investigates The Effect of Potential Entrants on Audit Market Competition.
ABSTRACT: Concerns regarding a lack of competition in the market for public-company audits focus on Big Four audit firms. Little concern has been raised regarding Non-Big Four firms, yet we know little about competition and barriers to entry in this market. Prior studies only consider competition from audit firms that already have public-company clients. I examine the role of potential entrants – PCAOB registered audit firms with no public clients – as an additional source of competition that can affect the quality and pricing of small firms in the public-company audit market. I find that audit quality increases and audit fees decrease for clients of Non-Big Four auditors when competition from potential entrants increases. Collectively, the results inform regulators and academics of the role potential entrants play in improving the financial reporting environment.