Event Summary: Professor Catherine Tucker on the Effect of “Big Data” on Competition, Regulation, and Antitrust Enforcement
On December 5, 2018, Analysis Group hosted a dinner in London featuring Professor Catherine Tucker, the Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management and a Professor of Marketing at MIT's Sloan School of Management. Professor Tucker is widely recognized to be one of the best of her generation on the subjects of online advertising, digital health, social media, and electronic privacy. Much of her work focuses on understanding the privacy and competition concerns raised by the massive amounts of data generated by the information and communication technology revolution.
In recent years, the competition spotlight has increasingly been turned on “big data” and the GAFA giants – Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. That spotlight is likely to be widened as firms such as Netflix, AirBnb, Tesla, Uber, Alibaba, and others continue to redefine the digital marketplace. For example, following the issuance of the European Commission’s report on Google Search and the resulting 2.4B Euro fine, the EU’s Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager announced that she may start to consider “big data” as a potential advantage that firms could use to exclude rivals from markets.
In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been holding a series of hearings on competition, including one in November 2018 dealing with “The Economics of Big Data, Privacy, and Competition.” Professor Tucker was among the economists and experts invited to provide testimony on the role of data in competition and innovation.
Professor Tucker’s remarks at our London event further illuminated the intricate and evolving relationship between data and network effects, switching costs, and barriers to entry. Her remarks drew on her extensive research on these topics, including the following:
- “Can Big Data Protect a Firm from Competition?” published by Competition Policy International
- “Network Effects and Market Power: What Have We Learned in the Last Decade?” published by the Technology & Policy Research Initiative, Boston University School of Law