Competition Cases Involving Platforms: Lessons from Europe
7 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2018
Date Written: October 17, 2018
Some academics and public intellectuals who lobby for an “antitrust counterrevolution” steeped in politics and not economics implicate the power of large technology platforms (“tech platforms”) in terms of “structural dominance”. The notion, it is sometimes heard, can be traced to a European culture of strong competition policy known as “ordoliberalism”. In this short policy note, I clarify that attempts to search guidance for an “antitrust counterrevolution” in European competition policy are misguided. I first explain why there are no parallels to draw between the ongoing US “political” antitrust revival and European competition history. I then move on to describe that the dominant feature of European competition law is experimentalism, not structuralism. I finally share my personal understanding of the contemporary European approach to competition policy in the tech sector. This note was initially submitted as a "public comment" to the US Federal Trade Commission hearings on competiition and consumer protection in the 21st century.
Keywords: Antitrust; monopoly; ordoliberalism; technology; platforms; US law; European Union
JEL Classification: K20, K21, L41, L4, L10, L20
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