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1st panel I've been able to attend at #ATSpring & panel is debating a paper by @M_Ohlhausen and Alex Okuliar (summarized nicely by Gail Slater). That paper sets out when a questionable biz practice is a consumer protection or competition issue. Read it! papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf…
Now, Isabella De Silva (Autorité de la Concurrence, Paris) says that small startups, like the French version of Spotify, complained that GDPR data portability meant big companies could easily steal their hard-earned customers. #ATSpring
Susan Creighton: it's interesting there is so much focus on tech sector given it's only 6% of US economy (banking is 18%). The disruptive nature of tech means unease gets directed at few big tech companies. #ATSpring
Entire panel speaks positively of disruption of sharing economy companies, notes that there was lots of incumbent industry lobbying to hinder this new competition. #ATSpring
Was particularly interested that De Silva's org advised against french laws that sought to limit Uber competition, noting that this would harm consumers. #ATSpring
Now talking about interaction between press and internet platforms. Rodney Sims (Chairman, Australia Competition & Consumer Commission) is easily the most interventionist on the panel. Contrasted his enthusiasm for Uber with his concern about platform effects on media. #ATSpring
Creighton notes that what we've seen is 1- removal of media gate keepers (any one can speak); 2- global competition with other news; and 3- disaggregation of media bundles (classifieds & sports, e.g.). #ATSpring
She highlights Tom Hazlett's "The Political Spectrum" and how in the US incumbents used the "public interest standard" to crush the diversity of voices in the radio broadcast. #ATSpring amazon.com/dp/0300210507/…
Sims longs for the professional journalist who fact checks, thinks there is a role for antitrust here. Says that if newspapers came out with stories that are published online, they'd be shut down. (Me: prob. not in the US!) #ATSpring.
Moderator Thomas Barnett asks how you can get gov involved in what people can read and listen to online and still respect free speech. Answers make it really clear that EU and Australian conceptions of free speech are much different that US. #ATSpring
In discussion about dynamic efficiency, Creighton quotes Herbert Hovenkamp as saying that the purpose of competition law is to promote innovation. #ATSpring. Hovenkamp had this awesome piece recently: theregreview.org/2019/03/25/hov…
Creighton: FTC heard concerns in early 2000s about big firms gobbling up all start-ups - from DoD, who worried re: large defense cos. FTC said limiting mergers might let current small cos to grow but would be no next wave of small cos. Right answer then, right now. #ATSpring
Sims: market studies are important part of antitrust toolkit, but he doesn't have to power to impose remedies based on those studies AND DOESN'T WANT IT. It's too big a stick, and once you have it, everyone will ask you to use it. #ATSpring
Creighton: FTC faces pressure to do something. In medicine, if you don't know how to improve the situation, used to bleed the patient. But eventually realized it's better to do nothing than to do that. Lesson holds for antitrust, she says. #ATSpring
That's it for the Chair's Showcase. #ATSpring
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