Competition and Market Regulation
This track invites participants to rethink the role of competition and market regulation against the background of the various transformations in our economy and society.
Transformations in our economy and society are challenging the way competition and markets are being regulated. The increasing digitisation of various industries raises questions about the adequacy of our current competition tools.
- How to define relevant markets when competition takes place in digital conglomerates and ecosystems beyond narrow markets for products or services?
- How to assess anticompetitive effects of practices in multi-sided markets where data, artificial intelligence and machine learning challenge our existing knowledge of how markets work?
- How to deal with the power of platforms that act as regulators by determining the conditions under which business can reach consumers?
The COVID-19 crisis has made these challenges even more visible. While smaller brick-and-mortar businesses are struggling to survive, the big techs have been thriving amid the pandemic, strengthening calls for regulation beyond the existing competition law framework. Due to the ongoing transformations, the current health and economic crisis also makes the need to reflect on the role of competition law to protect non-economic concerns more pressing.
- Can any lessons be drawn from the measures taken during the COVID-19 crisis to relax competition rules to enable cooperation between businesses for other ‘crises’ involving the promotion of sustainability and tackling climate change?
- Will the increased focus on national interests during the COVID-19 crisis lead to a renewed debate on industrial policy and the growth of national champions?
- Is there a need for more proactive competition interventions to protect against exploitative behaviour, such as excessive pricing, which has been on the rise during the crisis?
Track 'Competition and Market Regulation in Times of Transformation'
The track invites participants to rethink the role of competition and market regulation against the background of the various transformations in our economy and society, also beyond the COVID-19 crisis. We welcome contributions and proposals reflecting from a legal or economic perspective on themes such as:
- Market definition for digital conglomerates and ecosystems
- Notions of market power beyond dominance: economic dependence, paramount significance across markets, significant market status, etc.
- Development of novel theories of harm, including discrimination of businesses and exploitation of consumers
- Desirability of additional regulation for significant or gatekeeping platforms
- Competition, industrial policy, and national champions
- Sustainability, climate change, and competition law
- Health and competition law: excessive pricing, price gouging, pay-for-delay, etc.
- Role of considerations of privacy, democracy, diversity, and innovation in merger review
- Need for changes in procedure and enforcement policy such as the introduction of an ex ante competition tool and the adoption of interim measures
Anu Bradford is Henry L. Moses Professor of Law and International Organization at Columbia Law School. A leading scholar on the EU’s regulatory power and a sought-after commentator on the European Union and Brexit, Anu Bradford coined the term the Brussels Effect to describe the European Union’s outsize influence on global markets. Most recently, she is the author of The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World (2020), named one of the best books of 2020 by the Foreign Affairs. Bradford is also an expert in international trade law and antitrust law. She spearheads the Comparative Competition Law Project, which has built a comprehensive global data set of antitrust laws and enforcement across time and jurisdictions.
The Future of Liberal Democracy in the Era of Surveillance Capitalism and Digital Authoritarianism
Anu Bradford's keynote speech will examine the ideological origins, societal implications, as well as the relative global influence of three contrasting regulatory approaches towards the digital economy: the U.S.'s techno-libertarianism, China's digital authoritarianism, and the EU's digital paternalism. The speech will focus in particular on how these three regulatory systems – as well as the digital companies empowered and constrained by them – enhance or undermine liberal democracy and individual rights to privacy and personal autonomy across the world.