Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Monday, December 9, 2019

Antitrust Analysis of Platform Markets: Why the Supreme Court Got It Right in American Express

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Antitrust Analysis of Platform Markets:
Why the Supreme Court Got It Right in American Express

 

Summary

Platform businesses that facilitate connections between different stakeholders play an increasingly prominent role in the economy. Several of the largest firms in the world operate platforms. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a seminal decision, Ohio et. al. v. American Express, on the analysis of antitrust issues involving these sorts of businesses. In Antitrust Analysis of Platform Markets: Why the Supreme Court Got It Right in American Express, David S. Evans and Richard Schmalensee explain the economic basis for the Court’s analysis. The Court found that antitrust analysis of two-sided platforms that enable transactions between distinct groups, such as cardholders and merchants, must account for both groups in market definition and the analysis of anticompetitive effects The authors describe the problems with alternative approaches that were presented to the Court and consider the key criticisms levied against the Court’s analysis. The book is based on a series of articles the authors wrote leading up to and following the decision including the amicus brief they submitted to the Court. Given the growing importance platforms in the economy, antitrust will deal with more cases governed by the American Express decision in the U.S., as well as judgments of other courts on similar issues around the world. Many questions about the sound antitrust analysis of platform businesses remain unanswered. This book makes a timely contribution to the ongoing debate about how to apply antitrust to platforms and the digital economy in which they play a significant role.

The book constitutes a useful tool to not only interpret, but to potentially predict, the current and forthcoming application and direction of competition law in media markets in the United States, the European Union, and other jurisdictions worldwide.

 

Table of Contents

 

Authors’ Note

CHAPTER 1
Introduction

CHAPTER 2
Where's The Harm?   

CHAPTER 3
The Rule of Reason    

CHAPTER 4
Under and Over Enforcement  

CHAPTER 5
Two-Sided Red Herrings   

CHAPTER 6
All That Jazz  

APPENDIX 1
Supreme Court Decision   

APPENDIX 2
Brief for the United States as Respondent Supporting Petitioners  

APPENDIX 3
Brief of 28 Professors of Antitrust Law as Amici Curiae Supporting Petitioners  

APPENDIX 4
Brief for Amici Curiae John M. Connor, Martin Gaynor, Daniel McFadden, Roger Noll, Jefferey M. Perloff, Joseph A. Stiglitz, Lawrence J. White, and Ralph A. Winter in Support of Petitioners

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