Dilemma in antitrust enforcement: How use of economics can guide enforcement rules in multi-sided markets

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Journal of Antitrust Enforcement


The peculiarities of multi-sided markets set them apart from the traditional market paradigm entrenched in the antitrust policy framework. Working of platforms has posed antitrust issues and concerns, which cannot be dealt using the current rules. This does not imply that the new learnings on the economics of platforms cannot be incorporated into the adjudication of competition law or that Indian competition law is inflexible to accommodate the new insights. This article discusses how the conduct of platforms raises competitive ambiguity. Strategies that are considered harmful in standard economic literature may have a pro-competitive rationale. Such markets, generally, have a tendency to become concentrated with rapid innovation by firms. In this dynamic environment, the authorities should not pursue an ex ante agenda in trying to address a possibility of consumer harm and intervene only when anticompetitive harm is clearly identifiable. The enforcement should exclusively target objectionable activities that hurt consumers (not protect some competitors) leaving other pro-competitive conduct that benefit consumers unregulated.

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