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Part III Why Haven’t Many Competition Authorities Considered the Implications of Big Data?, 7 Agencies Focus on What is Measurable (Price), Which is Not Always Important (Free Goods)

Maurice E. Stucke, Allen P. Grunes

From: Big Data and Competition Policy

Maurice Stucke, Allen Grunes

From: Oxford Competition Law (http://oxcat.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 01 March 2021

Market power — Rights — Internet — Technology

This chapter examines how price effects have predominated antitrust analysis in the US. Competition agencies have never disclaimed the importance of non-price competition. Indeed, the consensus is that the effects of mergers or restraints on dynamic efficiencies, including innovation, are often more important than the effect on short-term prices. Nonetheless, economic factors that were easier to measure, such as the merger’s likely short-term impact on price, output, or productive efficiency in narrowly defined markets, became disproportionately important. Factors that were harder to assess or measure like the merger’s impact on innovation, systemic risk, and the risks that the increasing concentration of power pose to democracy and individual autonomy were ignored or discounted. The competition authorities specifically recognize the importance of quality competition. In assessing whether a merger may substantially lessen quality or other parameters of non-price competition, competition agencies employ an approach analogous to that used to evaluate price competition.

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