New Debates and Tensions in Antitrust: What’s Different about Platforms?

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Date: Monday, March 2, 2020 – 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Location: Rayburn House Office Building, Banquet Room 2044, 45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, D.C. 20515

Antitrust laws were crafted in an era when economic transactions were typically quite straightforward exchanges between a seller of a good or service and buyers. The 21st century, however, has witnessed the growing prominence of so-called “platforms” in which firms create value to multiple parties that interface with their platforms. Amazon provides value to both retail customers and providers of multiple goods through a platform. LinkedIn provides employment-related services to both individuals seeking to amplify their professional visibility and organizations who are seeking better information on prospective employees and business associates. Visa, MasterCard and American Express provide value to both cardholders and to merchants. The growth of these platforms has stimulated new debates within the antitrust community about the effect of such platforms on the evolution of competition in our society. 

This Georgetown on the Hill event assembled a panel of prominent experts to provide a discussion of the basic economics of platforms and to discuss the implications of platforms for the evolution of antitrust.

The discussion was moderated by:

  • John W. Mayo, Elsa Carlson McDonough Professor of Business Administration, Georgetown University; and Executive Director, Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy
  • Mark Whitener, Senior Industry and Innovation Fellow, Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy; and former Global Executive Counsel, Competition Law & Policy, General Electric Company

Panelists included:

  • Tasneem Chipty, Managing Principal, Matrix Economics
  • Glenn Woroch, Adjunct Professor of Economics Emeritus, UC-Berkeley
  • Joshua D. Wright, University Professor and Executive Director of the Global Antitrust Institute, George Mason University

This forum is part of the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy’s Georgetown on the Hill series at which we convene policymakers, academics, and industry experts to discuss important economic policy issues of the day.