Competition policy & innovation in the digital economy


In Concurrences, Alexandre de Streel (CERRE and University of Namur), writes about the role of antitrust in the digital economy. In his foreword "Should digital antitrust be ordoliberal?" he underlines the main characteristics of the digital economy and reflects on how these should impact on the enforcement of competition law.

“As competition policy is one of the most powerful tools for controlling the concentration of private power, it comes as no surprise that there is now a fierce debate among academics on the role of antitrust in digital economy”, he explains.  “Many antitrust agencies across the globe have done or commissioned reports on the adaptation of competition policy to the digital era and a consensus is emerging that more intervention is needed.”

He points out three key common characteristics to most digital platforms: market concentration, rapid pace of innovation and unpredictability. These characteristics give some direction for the antitrust objectives, theories of harm, process and remedies in the digital era.

He concludes that contemporary antitrust should aim at ensuring an innovation level playing field and diversity. He advises that “agencies should focus on corporate behaviours that try to unlevel the innovation field by foreclosing access to key innovation capabilities, enveloping efficient but smaller and niche competitors or killing young potential competitors while swallowing their innovation”.

He also recommends that agencies be participatory and experimental in their remedies design.


Read the full article on Concurrences