Dystopia vs. Evidence-Based Policymaking


All around the world, policymakers are proposing legislative changes that would drastically alter the ways that online platforms can operate. Motivating these initiatives have been fears that, absent explicit regulation, digital markets would suffer from failures that could not later be remediated.


These putative reforms are not rooted in a rigorous assessment of the costs and benefits of regulatory intervention. In lieu of empirical evidence, lawmakers are relying on highly abstracted theories of potential harm whose bearing on real-world markets is uncertain. Policymakers should instead rely on the tried-and-tested Consumer Welfare Standard that has successfully guided U.S. antitrust enforcement for the better part of a century.

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