Centre for Law, Economics and Society (CLES)


25 January 2017
Multi-Sided Platforms: Business, Economics & Competition Policy

01 February 2017
Global Value Chains in Competition Law

For more information and to view past events, please go to the events pages.


Contact Us

For general enquiries, please contact:

laws.research [at] ucl.ac.uk
+44 (0)20 3108 8484

For research project enquiries, please contact:

Professor Ioannis Lianos
+44 (0)20 3108 8346
i.lianos [at] ucl.ac.uk


Please find our events programme below. Past events can be viewed here.

UCL Centre for Law, Economics & Society
and the UCL Jevons Institute for Competition Law and Economics

25 January 2017

Multi-Sided Platforms: Business, Economics & Competition Policy

Speaker: Professor David Evans (UCL / University of Chicago)

Who should attend:
The course mainly designed for specialists in competition policy and sectoral regulation (lawyers, economists, and officials) but should also be informative for anyone who works for, invests in, must interact with multi-sided platform businesses.

There are no pre-requisites for attending this course. Students are encouraged to purchase David S. Evans and Richard Schmalensee, Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms (Harvard Business Review Press, 2016). A suggested reading list will be distributed two weeks before the course.

About the course:

All of the “sharing-economy” firms, such as Uber, Airbnb, and BlaBlaCar, many of the biggest companies in the world, including Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, and many of the firms that lead the online economy are matchmakers. These businesses all operate physical or virtual platforms where they connect members of one group of customers, like people looking for a ride, with another group of companies, like drivers. Economists call them “multi-sided platforms” and have developed a new body of economics that explains how they work and why they are different from traditional firms.

Multi-sided platform businesses are often at the heart of debates concerning competition policy and sectoral regulation including, in the EU, the current on-line sectoral inquiry and the interchange fee controversies. Platforms have been the subject of several significant court judgments around the world including by the European Court of Justice in Cartes Bancaires v. European Commission, the Chinese Supreme Peoples’ Court in Qihoo360 v. Tencent, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in U.S. Department of Justice v. American Express et al.

This course will cover the unique business models followed by multi-sided businesses; the economics of multi-sided platforms and the industries they anchor; the application of competition policy to multi-sided platforms; a survey of key competition policy and regulatory matters involving these platforms; and tools and techniques for competition policy analysis.

The course will include presentations from several executives of multi-sided platforms including incumbents and startups.

The course will consist of three segments:

  1. The Business and Economics of Multi-sided Platforms.
  2. Market Definition, Market Power, and Merger Analysis for Multi-sided Platforms
  3. Abuse of Dominance and Coordinated Practices for Multi-sided Platforms

The course will draw extensively on examples of multi-sided platform cases involving digital platforms and payment schemes drawn from the EU, US, China, and other jurisdictions.

Visit the event website for more information and to register for the course.

 UCL Centre for Law, Economics & Society

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Global Value Chains in Competition Law
 About the conference:

“The paradigm of the world political economy has shifted dramatically over the past twenty years. Legal scholarship, however, lags significantly behind. Existing legal scholarship is calibrated to an outdated model that suggests that multinational corporations – either individually or through one-to-one supplier relationships — create, manufacture, and sell a given product. But in today’s world, in what have been termed ‘global value chains’ the research, design, production, and retail of most products take place through coordinated chain components that stretch systemically across multiple – from a few to a few thousand – firms […] (t)he most important paradigm for understanding the global economy, and the political and social relationships that both guide it and stem from it, is no longer the template of the market but rather the role of global value chains” (K.B. SOBEL-READ, (2014), Global value Chains: A Framework for Analysis, Transnational Legal Theory, 5(3), pp. 364-407, 364 & 367)

Global Value Chains are prevalent in the global economy. A recent joint OECD, WTO and World bank report indicates that between 30% and 60% of G20 countries’ exports consist of intermediate inputs traded within GVCs. Economic production is increasingly structured around GVCs, which permit the simultaneous and coordinated transnational production and distribution of a very large array of products that each stage of the supply chain has to manage effectively, without this involving vertical integration by ownership. These supply chains start from the factors of production and other inputs needed for the production of a good and end up with distribution of the end product to the final consumer. Firms find it crucial to enter into long-term agreements with partners in other segments of a value chain, in order to create the necessary relation of trust that is required by the importance of relation specific investments that need to be undertaken in setting the supply chain management. This may lead to disintermediation and vertical integration but also to de-concentration through the constitution of networks or supply alliances that are managed by supply chain councils.

With some exceptions GVCs have not been explored systematically by competition law. The concept offers an important analytical potential. The most obvious one relates to the transnational dimension it brings forward, calling for a “transnational coordination” between “destination states” and “producer states”, this coordination being pursued at global, regional or bilateral levels, and raising interesting questions as to the scope of the extraterritorial enforcement of competition law, in particular with regard to “transformed products”. A deeper impact could be the re-conceptualization of the way competition law deals with vertical integration or quasi-integration and the more holistic perspective the concept of global value chain may ask from competition law enforcement, also with regard to its interaction with other competition policies.

Scope of the Conference
The conference will explore these different dimensions of the global value chain concept in competition law. The first part will focus on the delimitation of this concept and will discuss its usefulness as an operational concept in competition law, looking in particular to its trans-national dimension and the international aspects of competition law enforcement. The second and third parts of the conference will take an industry-specific perspective and will explore how the concept of global value chain may alter the way we conceptualize the role and tasks of competition law with regard to global digital value chains and global food value chains. Issues, such as the implications of big data, the development of digital platforms, the gatekeeping role of search engines, the quest for network neutrality, the increasing consolidation of the factors of production sector in food, the global strategies of retailers will be explored from the angle of Global Value Chains theory with the aim to understand how this may challenge “the familiar landmarks of our thought” in competition law and economics and how we may need to reconsider the current model of competition law enforcement in these areas.
Visit the event website for more information, including a list of speakers and the conference programme, and to register for the course.

Page last modified on 10 jan 17 15:49