Competition Law and Digital Ecosystems: Learning To Walk Before We Run

47 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2021 Last revised: 9 Sep 2021

Date Written: April 4, 2021


Competition authorities are under severe political pressure to intervene quickly against the digital behemoth for a variety of reasons. Various expert reports have suggested that traditional antitrust or competition law enforcement and merger control are inadequate or insufficient to deal with competition issues in the digital sector. In this paper we review a number of issues for which further economic thinking is required before competition authorities can make informed and relevant decisions about competition on digital markets.

We review the difference between competition between firms and competition between digital multi-products ecosystems, data and privacy issues, the relationship between competition within ecosystems and competition between ecosystems, the implications of consumer biases on competition in the digital sector, the competition issues raised by gatekeepers, and the trade-offs involved in interoperability and data portability. We also discuss merger control. We conclude with a research agenda to help competition authorities avoid the risks of inadvertently giving in to the political pressure of economic populism or ideology or issuing misguided decisions which may be ineffective or, even worse, restrict competition or innovation in the digital sector

Keywords: Competition law, digital, ecosystems

JEL Classification: K21, L10, L4, L49, L51

Suggested Citation

Jenny, Frederic, Competition Law and Digital Ecosystems: Learning To Walk Before We Run (April 4, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Frederic Jenny (Contact Author)

ESSEC Business School ( email )

3 Avenue Bernard Hirsch
CS 50105 CERGY

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