Diane Coyle, Bennett Professor of Public Policy, University of Cambridge
Forthcoming, Antitrust Law Journal, subject to revision prior to publication
Bennett Institute for Public Policy working paper no: 01/2018
The traditional tools of competition policy are difficult to interpret in the context of multi-sided digital platforms. The size and apparent market power of some platforms means competition authorities are facing calls for tougher action. However, both regulatory intervention and anti-trust enforcement will remain controversial until economic analysis provides some tools for a systematic assessment of competition in these markets. A particular analytical and empirical challenge is incorporating the dynamic as well as static effects of platforms’ dominance, given the evidently large consumer benefits they provide, and the fact that the growth of digital platforms rests on innovation and competition for the market. A practical way forward for competition authorities is suggested, rooted in a consumer welfare standard, but focused on innovation rather than static competition.