The practice of antitrust law is essentially an exercise in tradeoffs. How does a given practice by businesses benefit consumers? And how does it potentially harm them? Some practices are unambiguous: cartels, for example, produce no conceivable consumer benefit (and depress the economy as a whole). Other practices (particularly involving potential abuses of dominance) involve a more complex analysis of the inherent tradeoffs involved. This is all the more true as the economy becomes increasingly complex (particularly as regards digital markets, and platform businesses). The pieces in this Chronicle analyze the increasingly difficult question of how these tradeoffs should be addressed, with a focus on the digital economy.
Carmelo Cennamo & Juan Santaló begin by setting out the tradeoffs addressed by the EU Digital Markets Act. This piece of legislation makes clear certain choices about important tradeoffs in value to constrain the arbitrary power and dominance of gatekeepers over digital markets and guarantee a more equitable distribution of value with business users. The piece argues that the extent to which those objectives will be realized depend largely on the nature of competition one favors: both the type of competition (within vs. across platform) and the competition dynamics (winner-takes-all vs. differentiation).
Catherine Tucker addresses how platforms create value through a process known as “coring.” Coring refers to!-->…