Algorithms and Fairness: What Role for Competition Law in Targeting Price Discrimination Towards End Consumers?

20 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2017 Last revised: 1 Dec 2018

See all articles by Inge Graef

Inge Graef

Tilburg Law School; Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT); Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC)

Date Written: December 19, 2017

Abstract

While algorithms bring about benefits for consumers in the form of more efficient price setting, concerns have also been expressed about possible adverse effects including discrimination. The paper takes a competition law perspective in analysing a type of discrimination that is said to be facilitated by the use of algorithms, namely personalised pricing. This is a form of price discrimination between consumers whereby a firm charges each consumer a different price depending on willingness to pay. As the advent of data analytics and algorithm-based services has made it easier for firms to engage in price discrimination, a clarification of the latter’s legality under competition law is to be welcomed. As such, the paper discusses the extent to which competition enforcement can be considered desirable to target price discrimination towards end consumers. In this regard, attention is also paid to the interaction with other regimes such as data protection, consumer protection and antidiscrimination law.

Keywords: Price Discrimination, Competition, Data Protection, Consumer Protection

Suggested Citation

Graef, Inge, Algorithms and Fairness: What Role for Competition Law in Targeting Price Discrimination Towards End Consumers? (December 19, 2017). Columbia Journal of European Law, Vol. 24, No. 3, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3090360 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3090360

Inge Graef (Contact Author)

Tilburg Law School ( email )

Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

P.O.Box 90153
Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221
Tilburg, 5037
Netherlands

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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