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Inclusive Competition: Mechanics & Instruments of Inclusive Policy

 |  August 16, 2021


Below, we have provided the full transcript of our panel discussion Inclusive Competition: Mechanics & Instruments of Inclusive Policy. Read below to see the timely discussion where a panel of experts deepened the discussion of possible actions, mechanisms and instruments that antitrust practitioners and regulators can take into account in order to better understand both their own specific issues with inclusive policy, and the steps and specialized tools most likely to address and effectively improve the situation.

Gabrielle Kohlmeier Speaker BW

Gabrielle KOHLMEIER:

Hello and welcome. I’m Gabrielle Kohlmeier, Head of Competition and Policy at Verizon and chair of the American Bar Association’s Women Connected Committee. Having worked on the idea of inclusive competition in both of those capacities for several years, it is such a pleasure to welcome everyone to the second, in the two-part Competition Policy International Series on Inclusive Competition, inspired by the Antitrust Chronicle on the same topic, published earlier this year. For newcomers to the topic, the idea behind inclusive competition goes beyond workplace diversity and inclusion, to considerations of how competition, law, policy, enforcement may not be entirely inclusive. Whether that makes a difference to competition outcomes and if so, what tools can make our field more inclusive and their mind more robust and effective.

The first panel in this series was on frameworks featuring thought leaders and enforcers who’ve been on the vanguard of this idea of inclusive competition. And I highly encourage everyone to tune in to CPI Live to watch or re-watch the replay at your leisure. Today, I’m joined by an esteemed group of economists and lawyers with an incredible amount of antitrust and competition law and economics experience, and all are contributing to inclusive competition scholarship and research, and are here today to discuss mechanisms and instruments of inclusive competition. So we’ve got Amanda Athayde, a professor of corporate trade and competition law at the University of Brasilia, former head of the Leniency Unit and chief-of-staff at CADE’s General Superintendence, and current head of Trade, Remedies and Public Interest of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Economy in Brazil.

She’s also the co-founder of the Network Women in Antitrust, WIA in Brazil. We have Gunnar Niels, who is an economist at Oxera, an economics and finance consultancy based in Europe. Gunnar has more than 25 years experience as an expert on mergers, antitrust and damages cases, including four years at the Mexican Competition Authority. Paroma Sanyal, co-leads the telecommunications, internet, media and Entertainment practice at the Brattle Group. Prior to joining Brattle, she was the chief economist at the US Federal Communications Commission’s Wireless Bureau, before that, she was an assistant professor at Brandeis University’s International Business School in the Economics Department. And last but not least, we have Maria Stoyadinova who’s the Senior Vice President at the economic consulting firm, Compass Lexecon. Maria has more than 13 years of experience in antitrust and economic consulting and has worked on a variety of merger and litigation cases.

Prior to working in economic consulting, Maria was a consultant at the World Bank and a human rights activist at Amnesty International. Thank you all for joining this discussion and I’m so eager to jump in. One way of looking at inclusive competition is by focusing on data, that data matters, but so does the context within which it sits, whose story it tells and what might be missing. So I’d love to take a minute to hear your context, what background experience, perspectives, bring you to this discussion and inform your interest in an approach to inclusive competition. Paroma, let’s start with you.

Paroma Sanyal Speaker BW

Paroma SANYAL:

Thanks, Gabrielle, and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you’ve talked about looking at it through a data angle because I think as an economist, that is one of the biggest pitfalls. Unless I measure something, it’s like we don’t see it, so measuring the right things are really important. And over sort of the years of experience I’ve had at the FCC and in public regulatory policy, one of the things that’s been driven home to me is the aggregate level of data that usually the agencies and the government collects, and this does not allow us to really delve deeper into sectors, minorities, women, and what the impact of these various policies are on these various sectors.

And that’s where I come at it from. I mean, when we are evaluating a transaction or when we are evaluating a policy outcome, is doing it at the aggregate level enough? Or should we be looking at more of the vulnerable sections to whom these policies are targeted and get it at that way? And one of the biggest gaps that I see in some of the data that we work with is not having these granular gender-based data or more of a granular multiracial data. So, that’s sort of where I come at this from, trying to make the data more richer and more inclusive.


Gunnar, Paroma mentioned this issue of data constraints and lack of data, something that I know you’ve been working on with colleagues at Oxera. Before we get into that work, which we will, can you tell us about your experience and how you got interested in contributing to inclusive data?

Gunnar Niels Speaker BW

Gunnar NIELS:

Yeah, thanks, Gabrielle, and delighted to take part in this event. So yeah, I’ve been in competition law as an economist for over 25 years and it’s a fascinating field so I’m lucky to be in it. I’ve made contributions to the literature, to the economics literature, and have worked on cases in many different countries and continents. I can’t actually recall how it started but over the years, I have got more and more interested in questions of gender balance, both in my private life and actually at work. And then I read in 2019 this book came out by Caroline Criado-Perez, “Invisible Women”. And this is really an incredibly compelling argument on why we do have a problem of gender data gap as Paroma was also saying, in academia, in policymaking, in business, studies which are the basis for decisions of policy decisions, product design, they tend to rely on aggregate data on users, on consumers, without making a distinction between… or by gender, that’s a problem.

Or even worse, products are designed or policies are made on studies that are done only on studying men when they affect women. So, very inspirational book, “Invisible Women”. But then I also thought, hang on, we as competition practitioners and competition authorities, we do consumer analysis all the time, we analyze markets all the time, and we also kind of tend to normally look at the results in the aggregate. So rather than actually consider differences by gender, which we rarely do. So when the OECD launched recently or last year, its initiative on gender inclusive competition policy, this idea came about that hey, why don’t we look at our own past work or work from competition authorities, in particular consumer surveys, to see if there would be a difference in the outcome if one actually analyzed it with an eye on differences between gender. So that’s a study we did for the OECD, it’s not yet been published, it will hopefully be published soon, but I’m very happy to talk about it today.


Thank you, Gunnar. Amanda, you are not only a competition expert but also a champion of women. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and involvement on inclusive competition.

Amanda Athayde BW


Thank you, first of all, Gabrielle and CPI for the invitation for joining this event. I have a legal perspective, so I am a law professor in Brasilia, and in parallel, I have my professional work and I worked for five years as the head of the Leniency Unit. And during this term, we had many accomplishments but I realize how far we can still go for inclusiveness. So I can provide a concrete situation when I realized that we need to target this. So, we were at the end of the negotiation process of leniency agreement, it took several months for me and my team to negotiate this agreement. And we were in San Paulo in the headquarters of the Public Prosecution Office. And it was me representing CADE, and we had the public prosecutor which was a woman, and we had the head of the law firm which was a woman as well. And she had a young lawyer assistant with her.

So as far as the leniency applicants arrived at the room, we had a full room with white old man above 50 or 60 year old. So when I realized at that moment that they were all signing the leniency agreement with their pens, I just asked for the lawyer, the young lawyer, can you see that, there are no women in the leniency agreement? And he told me, can you see as well that there are no black men? And that was a really interesting moment for me because I realized that each of us has our own lenses. I had the lenses for the gender perspective, but he had the lenses of the race perspective. And we have to understand the world with those multiple perspectives. So what I believe is that the antitrust need to have this inclusiveness, not only because it’s good or because it’s beautiful or because it’s cool, but because it’s necessary.

It’s necessary to have gender, race, sexual orientation and disabilities, whatever, because we don’t have those lenses necessarily from our own background and from our own lives, thank you.


Thank you, Amanda. Maria, you also are a competition expert and economist who has been thinking about this, especially from the perspective of racial inclusion, which is also a very big issue here in the US, tell us how you became interested in inclusive competition.

Maria Stoyadinova


Thank you, Gabrielle, and thank you again for getting us all together for this important discussion. Before I get to your question, I just want to give the quick disclaimer that any views I express here today are my own views only and not necessarily the views of either Compass Lexecon or any prior employer. So I have in some shape or form been interested in inclusivity in different contexts and spaces for a long time now. From my personal perspective both as a woman and as an immigrant in the US, there have been numerous times in my life where I’ve realized that there’s a big difference between being invited to a space and being included in the space. I’ve felt like an outsider multiple times in my life, whether it’s just anything as simple as a conversation that circles around a cultural background of you have to have grown in the US to get it and you sort of are sitting in the conversation and not able to participate, or in a meeting or in a class, someone makes a joke about your background or your accent and you’re invited into the space but you certainly don’t feel included.

So, I’ve been thinking about that distinction for a long time from my personal perspective and that also made me really passionate to try to make sure the communities I am a part of are being inclusive and I’m doing my part to make them inclusive. And so of course one of those communities is the antitrust and competition policy community. And I started more deeply thinking about inclusivity in that space probably early last year when I joined on the antitrust section of the American Bar Association. And I’ve been collaborating as part of that work with a lot of very brilliant lawyers and economists, all of whom are deeply invested in inclusivity and competition. And so that work and those collaborations made me start asking some of those tougher questions of are we doing enough in our analysis? Are we gathering all of the data that we could be gathering? Are we asking all the right questions? And how can we do better with all of that?

And more recently, I authored a paper for a competition post international where I talk about some of those questions we’re overlooking in the competition data analysis.


Well, thank you all of you for sharing that. I think that it’s so interesting and helpful to see how in a lot of cases, it was the personal and the personal experiences that provided a broader perspective that has been translated into this space. So is our professional world inclusive enough not just in terms of the people that we’re seeing in the room, but the data that we’re using, going back to things that Paroma, Gunnar and Maria have talked about. So, the first panel last week explored more of the frameworks, why inclusive competition is important and different ways to approach it from analytical lenses to new theories that suggest explicitly making inclusion of secondary antitrust goal to institution building. And I’d love your thoughts on the potential for inclusive competition to contribute to antitrust and competition, but then also coming to our panel today on terms of mechanisms and tools, what are some ways that we can do that? Amanda, I’d love to start with you.


Okay, so well, I would like to make my comments about those mechanisms tools in two big boxes. So the first box would be related to enforcement and the second one would be related to mergers. So regarding the first box about enforcement, I consider that the competition authorities, they may take a decision to focus for example there enforcement on markets that have greater effect on rebalancing inequality. So for instance, taking into consideration the Brazilian perspective, CADE could foster this inclusive competition discussions on a case that was filed in 2019 that investigates if a patent owner of a magazine for hepatitis C is abusing its patent rights by implementing in the ledger’s excessive price. I’m not saying that it may be the final decision of the competition authority, I’m saying that this could bring the discussions about inclusive competition inside the antitrust agency.

Another example would be targeting for example bid rigging cases that have bigger or greater impact on poverty. So from 2019 to 2017 in Brazil, there were investigations on bread markets, milk, medical service, induced run and hospital cases of flu. And such collusion cases that increase cost to poor consumers and boost income from the rich. So I think this could be a mechanism on one box, in this first box of tools. And then the second box in this toolkit would be the taking into consideration and targeting the increase of market power through merger control. That those mergers have, when those mergers have negative effects on the society. So, and result from 2019 to 2018, almost all merger cases were approved. Even mostly without any restrictions, 94% of the cases, and only 0.2% were reproved, were not approved. So, having in mind that market consolidation may weaken competition in many markets, denying the benefits of an open economy and widening ratio income and wealth inequality. I think this could be a second tool within the antitrust toolbox to promote a more inclusive competition.


Thank you, Amanda. Maria, I know you also have some thoughts from an economics perspective around things we can do from an enforcement perspective, and I’d love for you to expand on that.


Yeah, absolutely. So the way I really think about this is from an enforcement perspective, I think it’s more about just expanding the number of… and the number of the types of questions that we ask in enforcement reviews and really just expanding the questions really will help us make markets and sectors more balanced and more fair, which is really the goal of antitrust and of consumer protection. So what I mean by that is, for instance, the focus on usually is, I’m going to talk from the US perspective because that’s my experience, but the focus usually is we ask certain consumer welfare questions when we do merger reviews which we are all necessary and important and I think what we need to be doing is add some additional questions on top of those to get sort of the more complete picture.

So for instance in merger and acquisition review, we could ask, are some transactions negatively impacting access to goods and services or choice or variety for communities of color? Are we defining as, when we say there is a small price increase from a transaction, is this price increase really small for some of the more economically vulnerable customers? Are businesses owned by people of color more impacted by barriers to entry than other businesses? So this is of course by no means a comprehensive list of questions but just sort of a few examples of what are some of the additional types of things we could be thinking about in enforcement to make it more comprehensive and to sort of give us a more complete picture of what is a competitive market.


Thank you, Maria. And Paroma, I saw you nodding in agreement especially around the idea that more questions can get us to a more complete picture. So I’d love to get your thoughts on this.


Well, I couldn’t agree with Maria more, I think she’s hit on all the high points of this. During any sort of evaluation of the transaction, we are used to dealing with, as economists, we are used to dealing with more aggregate statistics, is there upward pricing pressure, what’s happening to overall surplus in welfare. But I think digging deeper there and thinking about these various vulnerable segments is really important because not all segments are affected equally, sometimes even the same pricing pressure might affect somebody with income above $100,000 differently from somebody who’s at $35,000, or it might affect genders differently or communities of color differently. And I think also as a profession, we’re getting better at it, but we’ve been brought up on this sort of concept of Pareto efficiency where it’s not equity but efficiency that matters. And while some of us have gotten more comfortable with the idea of equity and using more of the non-traditional efficiency measures, a lot more needs to be done to incorporate that and bring it into mainstream sort of economics.


I think it’s so interesting and exciting to have the economists pushing the boundaries a little bit. And there is this debate in this inclusive competition discussion around what can we do with the frameworks that we currently are using because there are gaps even within that where it seems like we can make our data more robust and thereby make our analysis more robust without completely changing standards, changing the law or where we’re getting it, and then there’s the discussion of, but should there also be changes to the law. So it’s this spectrum and I think the discussion in inclusive competition is really still evolving in that space.

And I know, Gunnar, you’ve been really digging in, along with several of your colleagues at Oxera, for the OECD project that you mentioned. And you all produced an invaluable report for the OECD which as you mentioned is not yet published but hopefully soon and then we will get to all share it. But I’d love for you to share more about how you chose the proposal that you submitted, how you identified that there was a need that might contribute to antitrust, and some of the research and findings that you made in this report.


Yeah, thanks, Gabrielle. So very consistent with the themes raised by Amanda, Maria and Paroma, our study also focused on the tools, the practical tools for market definition and the analysis of competitive effects. And so we looked at the number of past surveys that both Oxera carried out and a number of competition authorities had carried out who kindly cooperated with the study. So we have a good geographic coverage, Canada, Mexico, UK, the Netherlands, and we cover a number of different products sectors including supermarkets, package holiday, sports TV channels, and health insurance. So we analyze basically, if you analyze these surveys again but now you actually do focus on gender, are the results any difference, do other messages, different messages come out.

Now, we also in the study provide a framework and we hope that this framework contributes to the thinking on market definition and competitive effects going forward, the idea of the framework really is that, of course, companies in markets can target specific customer groups by price, product presentation, et cetera, and that can give rise to different potential competition concerns for these groups. So you would overlook these if you don’t distinguish between customer groups in your analysis. Now, this idea as such is not new, for a long time, we’ve had price discrimination markets when defining relevant markets, for example, business versus leisure travelers, rural versus urban households, et cetera, but rarely do we do this by gender or indeed other ethnic minorities et cetera.

Now, these differences importantly, they don’t always matter in markets. It is important to bear in mind what we in Europe called the toothless or banana fallacy which comes from the United brands case in late 1970s where the European Commission and courts considered bananas to be a separate market from other fruits because babies and elderly people with no teeth couldn’t switch to other fruits. But of course, that fallacy in reasoning was that in practice, the sellers of bananas can’t distinguish between whoever buys the bananas, and indeed babies and elderly people maybe didn’t don’t buy the products themselves. But in many other markets, companies do have clever ways of targeting specific customer groups, by product design, pricing. And it is important to analyze those differences, including therefore differences by gender, because you don’t know from the outset whether it is relevant or not. So let me just give you two examples of what we found.

We looked at all these past surveys in a lot of detail, but some interesting findings was that, for example, in the package holidays merger, we found that on the aggregate, the conclusion had been that package holidays compete with holidays buying components separately, so hotels, flights. But we did find when we looked at the analysis in more detail that actually women are less prone, or in that survey in any event, were less prone to considering those components than men. They really preferred the package. So therefore in theory, in principle, it was possible for the providers of holiday packages after the merger to specifically design their packages in such a way that they are targeted at women purchasers who don’t have the alternatives. The other example was in supermarkets where we did a survey, a supermarket merger where the test was really whether the local stores of these two entities were each other’s closest competitor. So standard customer survey, we carried out.

Actually, we found important and significant substitution patterns between men and women in those cases after testing for other demographic factors, because even if you find of course differences by gender, it could be driven by other factors like income or age. But testing for all of these, we did find differences. In this case actually, we found that it was male customers who considered the merging stores to be closer competitors, closer substitutes, whereas the female respondents were more prone to going to outside substitutes. We also found there to be differences in shopping patterns between men and women. So statistically significant shopping patterns. For example, men were more prone to buy items like tobacco and news, newspapers. Now taking all of that, supermarkets could therefore post merger targets more male oriented products or product segments and raise prices there. And you would overlook such theories of harm if you don’t consider the differences in gender as part of your study.

So this last example, interestingly it was actually the male customers who were more negatively affected by this lack of… or by the gender data gap in this case. But yeah, in all, we hope that our study contributes to the thinking on, should we in practice adjust our tools for market definition.


I think just the study of it and the work that you put in collecting the disaggregated data, being able to do that as we’ll already be such a contribution to the feasibility of doing these types of inclusivity analysis. And then to your point that it doesn’t mean that it will always have an impact, but there are cases where it might. And I do think the finding that men are disadvantaged in some of the analysis that you did really interesting and just shows us that what we see in a lot of cases where once we broaden the scope, once we make things more inclusive, all people benefit from it. And it is not just one particular segment that necessarily gets a much needed advantage.

Jeanne Pratt, a panelist on the first panel and with the Canadian Competition Bureau said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that competition is about asking questions and inclusive competition is about how we can ask more nuanced questions. And Maria, you started talking about that as well about this intersects with the number of questions that we asked and the type of questions that we asked. And I’m wondering, do you think that these efforts particularly aimed at data actually help us answer not just ask those more nuanced questions.


Yeah, that’s an excellent question and thank you for that. I think data absolutely helps us both ask and answer some of those more nuanced questions. This question actually reminds me of one of the the push backs that we sometimes hear when we talk about making data analysis more inclusive. Sometimes we hear that pushback that data is this neutral thing And data is already impartial and unbiased And so there’s really no need for being intentional or trying to ask more nuanced questions, the data is what it is and it will give us the answer and it will be inclusive just by definition. And so my reaction to that has always been, if we were conducting these data analysis within an economic system that was equitable and inclusive, then maybe I might agree with that assessment, but unfortunately as you know in the US at least, most economic sectors do have some inequalities built into them and are not by definition, equitable and inclusive.

And so if we’re just assuming that we have the data and we don’t need to ask any more specific questions, we’re going to get an impartial answer that to me is absolutely incorrect. And not only that, but we’re perpetuating some of those inequalities when we assume that they’re not there and that we’re being already balanced. One example that comes to mind actually is, and I think Gunnar referred to that a little bit earlier in the panel, it’s not from the field of economics but it’s from the field of medicine is right, when we don’t ask some of the nuanced questions, we might get an answer that’s not necessarily incorrect but it’s definitely incomplete. So, for instance, right? In medicine, for a long time, a lot of the clinical trials were based on treatments and symptoms were being tested on men and so both patients and doctors didn’t actually know how the same disease manifests in women.

So, for instance, I learned that until fairly recently, we didn’t know how heart attacks show up in women because they were only tested on patients who presented male at birth and are assigned male at birth. So in that sense, someone might say, no, but the answer wasn’t incorrect, right? We’d predicted how 1/2 of the population is going to have heart attacks. Yeah, but it was incomplete because we didn’t predict how the other 1/2 would have the symptoms, right? So there is this a little bit this distinction of, yeah, sure, you might get an answer that’s “correct”, but it’s incomplete unless you ask the specific question of, well, how does this other part of the population, how is the other part of the population affected?

So in that sense, I think in data work, the way we ask the question absolutely informs the completeness and the usefulness of the answer we get and so there’s for sure for me space in analysis for asking some of these more nuanced questions. Not only is there space, but I think it’s absolutely necessary that we do that.


And it might save lives. Amanda, I know that you as an enforcer and in your different roles have also been very focused on the right questions to ask. And so I’m curious your perspective on this. And what role those questions take in the final outcomes and the final decision making that results?


Well, asking the questions do have an intentional perspective. So if the competition authority decides to make a question, even it’s not a super nuanced question that’s mentioned by Maria, for instance, asking those questions may have answers, that’s exactly what you’re waiting for when you make a question, right? But you don’t know exactly what answer will it be when you make those questions. So when the antitrust authority decides to make a question about the impact on environment, on labor market, on gender, on race, on regional disparities, it has to be prepared for the answers. And sometimes what I would suggest is that not making those questions as intentional because the authorities, they don’t want any more discussions on it.

So for instance, in Brazil, we have two different authorities, a dual structure. So one is the authority, the General Superintendence that makes the instruction of the cases, but when it is a complex case, the final decision goes to the Tribunal. So if the General Superintendence make some questions and make a final recommendation, this recommendation may not be taken into account by the Tribunal, it does not know what the seven people, seven commissioners are thinking about that, they may not be prepared to analyze those answers. So, not making those questions is also a decision that is deliberate by the agencies, that’s what are my thoughts nowadays. It’s not necessarily that people are not aware of the topics, sometimes it may be that they don’t want to answer those questions.

It’s interesting because I think we’re seeing, and I think that there’s a discussion around this is that kind of going back to Paroma’s comments earlier and Gunnar’s earlier that when we don’t have the data, there is no possibility to incorporate those things and that there is a lack of awareness because of that. And I think another point that we’ve talked about before is that, when you do ask the questions and you do provide it as part of the big picture, the authorities can decide what to do with it. But at least they have the information and the questions themselves promote awareness, which could be a positive regardless of how they ultimately decided to use those. In the prior panel, Tad Patchler with the UK’s Competition Markets Authority, noted also that it’s not just about getting more data, but about providing more context so that we have a more meaningful understanding of what the data is telling you. And that incorporating those qualitative pieces with the quantitative data is really critical. And Paroma, I was curious if you have thoughts on that and on the both the potential and the feasibility of incorporating that qualitative piece.


Gabrielle, let me begin by saying, I have struggled with it a lot because again, given sort of our training, qualitative is something we’ve always been taught as a nice to have but never a critical piece in interpreting sort of the hard data that we have been taught to think of as Maria mentioned as telling the whole story and being inclusive and. However, being an integral part of the Federal Communication Commission where we dealt with a lot of this coverage issues, broad band issues, who’s getting served versus who’s isn’t getting served, and also in terms of mergers, really brought into focus about the things we were missing if we did not have some kind of qualitative data. And in my mind, one of the best way to marry the two is surveys, I don’t think we do enough of it, it’s very hard to do of course, it’s not easy. But often, as Gunnar’s sort of work has shown, I mean, surveys are often very rich in terms of both the qualitative stories they can tell and in providing us the data that as economists, we can analyze at the end.

And to that, one of the things that I’ve also struggled with is, when in the US, we have to do some regulatory policy, we are asked to do a cost benefit analysis or we’re asked to do certain impact studies on small businesses, but usually they are a complete afterthought, there is some sort of menu and checklists you go through, but at the end, you wave your hand and say, oh, benefits are really hard to sort of quantify so we are going to do something very overall and general. But I think a lot more thought from all our end needs to go to that because ultimately, that will flow into when we evaluate transactions, when we evaluate your competition policy. It’s these harder questions of how to quantify benefits for different communities that’s going to come to the forefront. So for me, marrying sort of that survey data and the qualitative and quantitative is probably where the answer lies, can we think about, next time we think about evaluating maybe a regulation, is there a survey methodology that we can undertake that will better answer the impact of that regulation, and not just overall census statistics?


I think it’s so interesting because there’s been discussion also around behavioral economics and what role that has in our field of competition law. And part of the challenge has been some of the qualitative aspects of that, right? And so, to your point, it seems like if we can figure that out, it provides a richness that may be providing some optimal results at this point. And Gunnar, with your survey, with your research and the reports that you just completed, I’m wondering if you were able to use any qualitative aspects as you were doing this rigorous quantitatively-driven research.


Yeah, and I think maybe one of the messages also coming out of our study is that we do not require a radical overhaul of competition tools, right? So, market definition, competitive effects, we have existing tools. And at one level, all we need to do is get whether it’s intentional as Amanda says or just by default, we need to get away from this default idea of, we always just analyze it in the aggregate without looking at those different customer groups. Looking at those different customer groups, and then interpreting it and matching it with what you know about the market qualitative theories of harm, I mean, that’s the way to do it, it’s just one extra step in the analysis. Very often the data is there, there are big databases out there these days and particularly online where you already have actually have a lot of information on each individual customer including therefor their gender, their ethnic minority, ethnic group, background, et cetera.

If the data is not there, then as was said before, it does require a conscious effort indeed to get it through for example in surveys. We also learned quite a few lessons on survey design in this research. The first one being, you actually have to ask the question about gender and background. And we discovered perhaps to our dismay that in some of the past surveys we had done, there wasn’t even a record of the gender from the respondent, maybe because they were done face to face and it just wasn’t recorded. Now, that’s already a problem. And then there is of course some developing thinking on best practices on survey design, even basic important question, how do we even ask the question about gender, there is some guidance and emerging thinking on good practice?

And then coming to behavioral questions. Again, in survey design, one does need to take into account potential differences, systematic differences, for example, in the way men and women answered the surveys. We discovered for example, that there was a much higher proportion of answers, don’t know or no particularly strong opinion among female respondents compared to male respondents. So those differences are all important to take into account. But again, we’re not asking here collectively I think for radical change in competition policy, it’s just building and improving the tools we have.


So Gunnar, I think what I heard you say is that we already have some tools that are effective that can be used for these purposes, they just need to be sharpened. And as we are thinking through both how to sharpen them, how to build on the work that you’ve done, I’d love to close off this panel hearing from all of you what you would like to see our profession focus on as we are moving forward on inclusive competition in identifying inclusion gaps and in development of more of these types of inclusive polls. Paroma, would you like to start?


Sure, thanks, Gabrielle. Just wanted to say, even just being a part of this panel has been an eye opener and I hope we all continue the conversation in our respective fields and go from there. For me, a couple of the things, being in the telecom field and currently seeing how important broadband is to all our lives, I have started thinking really deeply about what all the metrics that we collect about coverage or service means. And one recent example as you know, the emergency broadband funding that the FCC is putting forward, it’s supposed to target a certain segment of the population. And in thinking that through, I was thinking about what the kinds of data that these agencies can collect as a part of this programs that will allow us to target these policies better?

And similarly then, when we have a transaction in various fields, if these data exists on these various communities, we would be able to use them better within our existing tools since we already have it. So, giving it a little more thought when we are doing sort of framing policies about what we collect as part of these policies would be something that would help very much in moving this concept of inclusive competition forward.


Agreed. Amanda, your thoughts?


Okay, good. Well, this is a topic that has really taken my last years with alongside with other women. So we in Women in Antitrust, we are in Brazil, we did our huge study and published it in 2018. And we analyzed how is women representativeness in our antitrust in Brazil. We did it and considering data from CADE, considering data from the economic consultancies, considering data of the law firms. And on the antitrust authority perspective, we collected data that although women are 47% of the workforce in the institution, only 20, maximum 25% of those women were authorities in the institution. So we realized that we had to do something for this inclusiveness by ourselves. So we have already published four books with papers written only by women, we weekly publish reading tips from articles and books that were written by women, we have a project that it’s called Call a WIA, that we ask women to be invited for events organized by the other institutions.

So I think the next step that we have to take considering our network is to take all their lenses, all their inclusiveness lenses inside our own projects. So taking that into account this year, we sent a public letter to the Brazilian President as well as the Minister of Justice and the Ministry of Economy, saying that the president, the General Superintendent, the commissioners that would have open vacancies on this positions in this year, they should have diversity and inclusion among the criteria to be appointed in those positions. So, those are some of the focus on the professional level that I think we could start thinking, not only on cases but also on representativeness because when we have heard of agencies that are representative of minorities, definitely would be better to see antitrust through those lenses as well.


Thanks, Amanda. Gunnar, I’d love to hear if you have thoughts on what you would like to see next.


Yeah, no, thanks, I fully agree, I would like to see next, our profession itself, the competition community and not least the economists be a lot more diverse than it currently is. So it’s great, it’s very important that we have these debates and awareness raising of what competition policy can do for wider society, but also the competition policy community needs to do a lot more to become more diverse. And it starts with initiatives like Amanda has mentioned and perhaps also what each of us can do is in our own organizations, make changes through initiatives and behaviors. And so basically starting from the micro level as well as the wider macro level.


I love that. And I think that it’s great to have this call to action on an individual level as well, as in terms of the scholarship and the work in the institutional level. Maria, final word, what are your thoughts? What’s your wish list?


Sure. So, thanks again for the question and just for the discussion as a whole. I mean, my wish list is, I’m going to echo what my co-panelists said and also what I said earlier, I really, my wish for next steps is to start thinking about what are we overlooking in competition analysis, in data? What are we missing? Start having these deeper questions and more nuanced questions. And I see a few different specific ways we can do that, one is of course have more conversations like the one today where we get together, exchange ideas, bring awareness, raise some of those questions. Two, would be looking to some other, again, speaking from the US perspective, but we can look to other countries and learn from each other because different countries are at different stages when it comes to inclusive competition. And we can know, I think learn from each other. So, sort of looking at what other jurisdictions are doing and maybe getting some ideas of how you can replicate some of it or modify some of it to fit your context better, but learning from each other internationally.

And then I absolutely also have to mention as Amanda and Gunnar both said, the micro level, I think it’s extremely important we increase both diversity and inclusivity within the institutions and within the firms and within the organizations that are working on these analysis and are asking these questions because that’s really what helps us see some of our blind spots. When the institutions reflect the consumers that they’re trying to protect you, we’re going to see a lot more of these questions come up organically. So I think that’s very important is this micro as you said, Gabrielle, the micro call to action of all of us should do our parts to increase inclusion in our organizations.


Here, here. Well, thank you all, this has been such a great discussion that to me suggests that there is value in considering inclusivity in antitrust, it is already feasible to do things like collect disaggregated data and consider the context of the data. And then a lot more discussion to be had in terms of policy decisions of what we can do with that data and collaborations to learn from others to your last point, Maria. So I think we’re still in the beginning phases of this inclusive competition journey, there’s much more research, analysis and discussion to be had, and I’m really looking forward to it and so appreciate all of the contributions that you all have made here today.