Differentiated Treatment in Platform-to-Business Relations: EU Competition Law and Economic Dependence

Yearbook of European Law, vol. 38 no. 1, p. 448-499, 2019

Tilburg Law School Research Paper Forthcoming

52 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2020

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: November 12, 2019

Abstract

Differentiated treatment is a key focus in current competition investigations of the European Commission and national competition authorities, ranging from more prominent placement of one’s own services in a ranking to preferential access to data and the favoring of businesses that pay higher levels of commission. Based on their exclusionary and/or exploitative character, the paper distinguishes three types of differentiated treatment on online platforms in order to provide an analytical framework for assessing the extent to which such practices are abusive under Article 102 TFEU, namely: pure self-preferencing, pure secondary line differentiation and hybrid differentiation. The paper points out that the main area where EU competition law currently does not offer effective protection is in the most far-reaching situation where a business is blocked from a platform without legitimate justification. To address harm in such cases, the paper suggests giving a stronger role to economic dependence both within and outside EU competition law and explores possible measures building upon the Platform-to-Business (P2B) Regulation as well as the notion of fairness of platform-to-business relations.

Keywords: Competition; Economic Dependence; Online Platforms; Discrimination; Fairness

JEL Classification: K20; K21; K30; L43; O38

Suggested Citation

Graef, Inge, Differentiated Treatment in Platform-to-Business Relations: EU Competition Law and Economic Dependence (November 12, 2019). Yearbook of European Law, vol. 38 no. 1, p. 448-499, 2019, Tilburg Law School Research Paper Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3597678

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

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
50
Abstract Views
170
PlumX Metrics