Comment: Stigler report recommends antitrust changes, new digital agency, echoing UK, EU

24 May 2019 2:05pm
The US should create a new specialist "Digital Authority" to better regulate digital platform markets such as Facebook and Google, a study commissioned by the University of Chicago’s business school released today proposed.

The proposal, the result of two years of study by Chicago’s Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State, is the latest suggestion for how to reconfigure antitrust to better address the digital economy. It builds off of the recommendations in the UK’s Furman report, the EU’s study on digital platforms, both released earlier this year.

The 100-page report proposes several changes to current US antitrust laws, including that mergers between dominant firms and potential rivals be presumed unlawful subject to rebuttal. It also suggests creating a specialist regulator for digital platforms that would apply different rules to companies with “bottleneck power,” defined as situations where consumers primarily rely on a single provider making it difficult for other providers to gain access. The Digital Authority could be charged with overseeing interoperability or nondiscrimination rules and separately consider mergers that involve digital platforms.

By Leah Nylen.