Antitrust & Consumer Protection

Overview

ICLE’s antitrust and consumer protection research agenda emphasizes an empirical, evidence-based approach, informed by a decision theory (“error cost”) mode of analysis. Our scholars evaluate the social costs and benefits of proposed interventions, focusing in particular on how institutions affect the appropriateness and the effectiveness of antitrust enforcement.

Fine is Only One Click Away

In a US Senate Hearing in 2011, Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, stated that ‘competition is only one click away’. On 27 June 2017, the European Commission fined Google €2.42 billion for allegedly ‘abusing dominance as search engine by giving illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service’. Ruthlessly, a fine is only one click away too.

The Real Reason Foundem Foundered

A pair of recent, long-form articles in the New York Times Magazine and Wired UK — the latest in a virtual journalistic cottage industry of such articles — chronicle the downfall of British price comparison site and stalwart Google provocateur, Foundem, and attribute its demise to anticompetitive behavior on the part of Google.

Innovation Competition, Unilateral Effects and Merger Control Policy

This paper looks at whether the standard unilateral effects model can be applied to non-price competition parameters such as innovation. This question arises because competition authorities are intervening in horizontal mergers that are found to give rise to a “significant impediment to effective innovation competition” (“SIEIC”) as a result of a reduction in post-merger R&D efforts (including lower expenditure).