Big Data and the Economics of Free: Towards a New Competition Law

Posted: 2 Oct 2017 Last revised: 3 Dec 2019

See all articles by Christophe Carugati

Christophe Carugati

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas

Date Written: August 11, 2017


Big Data and free goods such as Google search engine change the way of living of billions of users worldwide. Nowadays, the current competition law based on price-centric tools and static analysis without taking into account other fields of law like privacy is not adapted for the Big Data age which involved free goods, dynamic economy in multi-sided markets and privacy. There is an urgent need of a new competition law. That is the subject of this paper, to introduce a new competition law in the Big Data and the economics of free-or free goods- age in a practical way with a law and economics point of view for practitioners and competition authorities by using the latest papers and cases including the Google Shopping Case at the time of the thesis. I will start by defining new competition tools for free goods, identifying the relevant market, the market power and network effects and some economic tools related to privacy. Then, I will suggest a new analysis for Big Data and competition law enforcement by investigating abuse of dominance with new kinds of abusive conducts, collusive practices in the digital economy and the problem of algorithms and mergers with the necessary implication of privacy policy. Finally, I will address the link between competition law and consumer protection in the Big Data age of free goods by identifying the consumer welfare, the price discrimination and the remedies to protect consumers and market competition in the digital economy.

Keywords: Big Data, Economics of Free, Competition Law, Antitrust, Merger

JEL Classification: K21, L40

Suggested Citation

Carugati, Christophe, Big Data and the Economics of Free: Towards a New Competition Law (August 11, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Christophe Carugati (Contact Author)

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas ( email )

12 place du Pantheon
Paris cedex 06, 75231

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