Analysis Group Academic Affiliates Contribute to 2nd Annual Harvard Law Antitrust Conference

November 14, 2019

Two Analysis Group academic affiliates participated in panel discussions at the 2nd Annual “Challenges to Antitrust in a Changing Economy” conference at Harvard Law School. Organized by Competition Policy International (CPI) and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), this year’s conference addressed issues of common ownership and antitrust implications for digital markets. The keynote address was delivered by Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice.

For the panels, Professor Steven Tadelis (Berkeley Haas), fellow economists, and an FTC regulator provided their different perspectives on “Competition in Digital Advertising: Is There Online and Offline Convergence?”  Noting that “Big is not illegal,” Professor Tadelis stressed that it was critical to keep the focus on a clearly defined and supportable theory of harm in digital markets. He also explained how the development of cloud services have actually lowered barriers to entry in digital markets by turning capital investment in hardware into operating expense instead.

On the panel “The Economics Behind Digital Services: How Do They Compete?”, Professor Catherine Tucker (MIT Sloan) and her academic colleagues held a wide-ranging discussion on the nature of market power in digital markets. Professor Tucker introduced two key questions centered around competitive impacts in digital businesses: the difference between same-side and cross-side network effects for digital platforms, and whether or not the amassing of consumer data could be considered an essential facility. She also weighed in on the role that start-ups play in promoting innovation, warning would-be digital entrepreneurs that banking on being acquired by a giant technology company cannot be “an excuse for not having a plan for making money.”

Read testimony of Professors Tadelis and Tucker in an FTC hearing on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century”