Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century -- Hearing #3
The three-day event will examine the potential for collusive, exclusionary, and predatory conduct in multi-sided, technology-based platform industries. The sessions will also examine antitrust frameworks for evaluating acquisitions of nascent competitors or occurring in nascent markets, including in the technology and digital marketplace; and the approach to addressing antitrust issues regarding labor markets.
Multi-Sided Platforms (Oct. 15, 16, and 17):
- What are the defining characteristics of multi-sided platforms? Is there a way to distinguish between multi-sided and single-sided businesses? Are any adjustments to antitrust analysis necessary to account for any special characteristics of multi-sided businesses?
- How should the courts and agencies define relevant antitrust markets and measure market power for multi-sided platform businesses?
- What is the relevance of network effects (direct and indirect) in multi-sided platform markets?
- How should the courts and agencies evaluate exclusionary conduct by firms competing in multi-sided platform markets, including predatory pricing, vertical restraints, most-favored nation clauses, and actions to undermine rivals who depend on platform infrastructure?
- Are there unique procompetitive justifications for these types of conduct by firms competing in multi-sided platform markets?
- What is the relevant legal precedent for evaluating antitrust concerns related to multi-sided platform businesses?
Antitrust in Labor Markets (Oct. 16):
- Is a lack of competition among employers a significant contributor to observed macroeconomic trends in labor markets, such as the declining labor share and/or real wage stagnation? What are other explanations for these trends?
- How should the agencies approach defining relevant labor markets for purposes of antitrust analysis? What (if any) reliable evidence is available on the existence and effect of employer concentration in properly defined labor markets?
- Does available evidence suggest a causal relationship between employer concentration and labor market outcomes, such as wage? Does this evidence suggest a change in antitrust enforcement is needed?
- Should the agencies and courts apply the consumer welfare standard to the analysis of monopsonistic labor markets in which firms are buyers and workers are sellers?
- How should the agencies and courts resolve cases where evidence suggests output in the product market is likely to increase, but employment and wages are likely to decline, because of reduced competition in a properly defined labor market?
Acquisitions of Nascent and Potential Competitors in Digital Technology Markets (Oct. 17):
- What is the appropriate antitrust framework to evaluate acquisitions of potential or nascent competitors in high-technology markets?
- Is current antitrust law sufficient to support the development of challenges to these types of acquisitions?
- How should the antitrust agencies evaluate whether a nascent technology is likely to develop into a competitive threat in dynamic, high-technology markets?
- What are some pragmatic approaches that the antitrust enforcement agencies could consider for enhancing their evaluation of these types of acquisitions?