Testimony on the 'State of Competition in the Digital Marketplace' before the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law
39 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2020
Date Written: April 24, 2020
The extraordinary success of the digital sector of the domestic economy is indisputable. With this level of market success, growth, and influence, both economically and culturally, it is perhaps inevitable that these businesses are increasingly at the forefront of public policy discussions. Most relevant for our purposes are the now-common claims that these firms have systematically engaged in anticompetitive conduct, or are otherwise insulated from competitive forces, and that digital platforms’ exercise of monopoly power has remained unchecked at least in part due to gaps in our antitrust laws or lax enforcement of existing laws.
This testimony provides insights on three important questions concerning the state of competition in the digital marketplace: (1) Are existing antitrust laws that prohibit monopolization and monopolistic conduct adequate for digital platforms?; (2) Are existing laws adequate to prohibit anticompetitive transactions including for vertical and conglomerate mergers, serial acquisitions, data acquisitions, or acquisitions of potential competitors?; and (3) Is the institutional structure of antitrust enforcement — including the current levels of appropriations to the antitrust agencies, existing agency authorities, congressional oversight of enforcement, and current statutes and case law — adequate to promote the robust enforcement of the antitrust laws?
Keywords: digital sector, digital platforms, digital marketplace, antitrust, anticompetitive conduct, anticompetitive transactions, monopoly power, monopolization, consumer welfare standard
JEL Classification: K21, K22, K23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation