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The regulation of zero-price markets by the competition authorities in the USA and the EU

Stephen Jarman and Deniz D. Karaman Örsal
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Stephen Jarman: Department of Economics, 14915Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Deniz D. Karaman Örsal: Department of Economics, 14915Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Deniz Dilan Karaman Örsal ()

Competition and Regulation in Network Industries, 2020, vol. 21, issue 4, 315-343

Abstract: The modern economy is flooded with products that have no monetary price. However, it is becoming something of an established fact that many zero-price products are not ‘free’ but rather incur costs for consumers in other ways. Many governments intervene in markets when consumers are not being given a fair price for their products. If the costs to consumers for some products are not monetary however, how can governments evaluate whether the costs that consumers are incurring are too high? We seek to answer this question by assessing the approaches of the US and the EU to zero-price markets as informed by their legal and ideological traditions. We offer potential policy solutions while outlining the difficulties that accompany government intervention in zero-price markets and the obstacles when it comes to measuring non-monetary forms of consumer cost.

Keywords: Zero-price markets; multi-sided markets; antitrust; anti-competitive behaviour; Google; Microsoft (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1177/1783591720943756

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