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Economic Power and New Business Models in Competition Law and Economics: Ontology and New Metrics

 |  April 8, 2021

By Ioannis Lianos (University College London) & Bruno Carballa Smichowski (Joint Research Centre)

The digital economy has brought new business models that rely on zero-price markets and multi-sided platforms that exploit broad business ecosystems. The traditional concept of market power used by competition authorities cannot engage with this new reality, which is more multidimensional than the usual focus on price (and output). A number of jurisdictions also try to grapple with the broader concern over the bargaining power of large digital platforms and the rise of gatekeepers in the digital economy. These developments have culminated in the recent calls for a more multidimensional concept of (economic) power, in particular in the context of competition law enforcement against unilateral conduct and suggestions over new concepts of power triggering antitrust/regulatory intervention, such as “strategic market status”, “conglomerate market power, “intermediation power”, “structuring digital platforms”, or “gatekeepers” to complete, or even substitute, the archetypical concept of market or monopoly power in competition law.

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