An Introduction to the Competition Law and Economics of 'Free'

Forthcoming, Antitrust Chronicle, Competition Policy International

11 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2018

See all articles by Benjamin G. Edelman

Benjamin G. Edelman

Harvard University - HBS Negotiations, Organizations and Markets Unit

Damien Geradin

EUCLID Law; Tilburg Law & Economics Center (TILEC); University College London - Faculty of Laws

Date Written: August 23, 2018

Abstract

Many of the largest and most successful businesses today rely on providing service at no charge to at least a portion of their users. Free services often delight users, yet also create a series of challenges for competition policy, including impeding entry, inviting overproduction on quality, and increasing the risk of deception and overpayment. This short paper presents these problems, examines the strategies that entrants can attempt when competing with free service, and considers possible regulatory responses.

Keywords: two-sided markets, zero pricing, antitrust, competition, Internet, disruptive innovation, platforms, data

JEL Classification: D42, K10, K21, L12, L21, L41

Suggested Citation

Edelman, Benjamin G. and Geradin, Damien, An Introduction to the Competition Law and Economics of 'Free' (August 23, 2018). Forthcoming, Antitrust Chronicle, Competition Policy International . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3238719

Benjamin G. Edelman

Harvard University - HBS Negotiations, Organizations and Markets Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States

HOME PAGE: http://people.hbs.edu/bedelman

Damien Geradin (Contact Author)

EUCLID Law ( email )

Brussels
Belgium

Tilburg Law & Economics Center (TILEC)

Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

University College London - Faculty of Laws ( email )

Gower St
London WC1E OEG, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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