Taming digital gatekeepers: the more regulatory approach to antitrust law
Stanford-Vienna TTLF Working Paper No. 55; a modified version is forthcoming in Computer Law & Security Review
30 Pages Posted: 6 May 2020 Last revised: 9 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 10, 2020
The economic features of digital markets and the strategic role played by large platforms represent the premises of a significant shift in the approach to the interface between antitrust and regulation, whereas traditionally the former has been seen as preferable to the latter. Indeed, several reports recently issued by authorities, policy makers and academics point to the inefficiency of relying solely on ex post antitrust enforcement and call for a possible ex ante regulatory framework to complement antitrust rules in addressing competition issues in digital contexts. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether the invoked regulatory approach reflects the distinctive structural features of digital markets, which would impede self-correction by preventing competition from solving by itself problems associated with them, or whether it is just an enforcement short-cut: that is, an attempt to address some (alleged) anti-competitive practices by dominant online platforms, avoiding hurdles and burdens of the standard antitrust analysis.
Keywords: Online platforms; Digital markets; Antitrust; Regulation; Ex ante prohibitions
JEL Classification: K20; K21; L40; L50
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation