Colluding Through Smart Technologies: Understanding Agreements in the Age of Algorithms

a revised version is forthcoming in L. Di Matteo, C. Poncibò, and M. Cannarsa (eds.) “The Cambridge Handbook of Artificial Intelligence”, Cambridge University Press 2022

15 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2021 Last revised: 27 Apr 2022

See all articles by Giuseppe Colangelo

Giuseppe Colangelo

University of Basilicata, Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Economics; Stanford Law School; LUISS Guido Carli, Department of Business and Management

Francesco Mezzanotte

Roma Tre University

Date Written: June 27, 2021

Abstract

By affecting business strategies and consumers’ behavior, the wide-scale use of algorithms, prediction machines and blockchain technology is currently challenging the suitability of several legal rules and notions which have been designed to deal with human intervention. In the specific sector of antitrust law, the question is arising on the adequacy of the traditional doctrines sanctioning anticompetitive cartels to tackle coordinated practices which, in the absence of an explicit “meeting of the minds” of their participants, may be facilitated by algorithmic processes adopted, and eventually shared, by market actors. The main concern in these cases, discussed both at regulatory and academic level, derives from the general observation that while the traditional concept of collusive agreement requires some form of mutual understanding among parties, nowadays decision-making of firms is increasingly transferred to digitalized tools. Moving on from these premises, the paper investigates the impact that the rules applicable to the conclusion of (smart) contracts may have, from an antitrust law perspective, in the detection and regulation of anticompetitive practices.

Keywords: Algorithms, blockchain, collusion, agreement, smart contract, antitrust, contract law

JEL Classification: D43, L13, L41

Suggested Citation

Colangelo, Giuseppe and Mezzanotte, Francesco, Colluding Through Smart Technologies: Understanding Agreements in the Age of Algorithms (June 27, 2021). a revised version is forthcoming in L. Di Matteo, C. Poncibò, and M. Cannarsa (eds.) “The Cambridge Handbook of Artificial Intelligence”, Cambridge University Press 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3912587 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3912587

Giuseppe Colangelo (Contact Author)

University of Basilicata, Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Economics ( email )

Via dell'Ateneo Lucano 10
Potenza
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/giuseppecolangelouni/home

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

HOME PAGE: http://law.stanford.edu/transatlantic-technology-law-forum/

LUISS Guido Carli, Department of Business and Management ( email )

Viale Romania 32
Rome, Roma 00197
Italy

Francesco Mezzanotte

Roma Tre University ( email )

Via G. Chiabrera, 199
Rome, 00145
Italy

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