The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), designed to regulate Big Tech, supplements current antitrust laws that pursue case-by-case analyses of business conduct with general rules to block potentially anticompetitive behaviors. Detractors criticize the DMA for its lack of nuance. Supporters applaud its general principles as a necessary bulwark against Big Tech’s market powers, which current case-by-case analysis has been unable to rein in. However, neither side appreciates the true complexity of the DMA or how its principles interact to prevent anticompetitive behavior, writes Alba Ribera Martínez.
Recent antitrust interventions have put forward behaviorally informed theories of harm. However, they have adopted a deterministic model of behavior, missing the nuances that allow behavioral economics to provide a richer picture of people’s conduct. The recently concluded Google trial, grounded on the stickiness of defaults, is a good example. A more careful application of behavioral economics would have shown how Google’s purchase of default search engine status was a part of a broader monopolization plan. It would also show why the dominant remedy, forced choice, would have negligible effects.
Large digital platforms have evolved into vast multimarket/multiproduct conglomerates, both organically and through a decade-long acquisition spree. Conduct and mergers can no longer be evaluated “market-by-market.” Yet the antitrust assessment of these “ecosystems” is still in its infancy, and regulators seeking to explore harm arising from the control of multiple assets and capabilities are falling back on traditional theories of harm that are more likely to resonate with judges. Substantive progress is unlikely to emerge spontaneously from consultants or academia, and regulators will need to harness interest in this space by motivating and coordinating relevant policy research, argues Cristina Caffarra.
In new research, Manuel Wörsdörfer compares the philosophies of two formative antitrust thinkers writing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States and Europe: Louis D. Brandeis and Walter Eucken. A discussion of their body of thought highlights the antitrust concerns of the time and how their positions can be adapted to today’s regulatory environment, particularly regarding Big Tech.
Big Tech Calls for Agency Heads To Recuse Are a Groundless and Cynical Strategy To Obstruct Enforcement
Big Tech’s efforts to push Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan and Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter to recuse themselves from participating in lawsuits against the companies due to prior work have no legal basis and are naked efforts to weaken agency enforcement, writes Laurence Tribe.
Google is on trial for anticompetitive behaviors designed to protect its monopoly in internet search. Herb Hovenkamp analyzes several possible remedies the presiding court and Department of Justice could pursue and suggests which ones may succeed in reinforcing competition to protect consumer interests.
Will increasing the liability of internet platforms mitigate disinformation? Economists weighed in on the effects of limiting or repealing protections for Big Tech through a recent survey from the Forum for the Kent A. Clark Center for Global Markets—previously the Initiative on Global Markets—at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
The Federal Trade Commission recently failed to stop Meta’s acquisition of virtual reality company Within, while the Department of Justice is now attempting to...