PhD students at the Faculty of Law – University of Copenhagen

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Elisa Maria Faustinelli

Elisa Maria Faustinelli

PhD Student

  • PhD programme

    Karen Blixens Plads 16, 2300 København S, Søndre Campus, Building: 6A.3.05

    Phone: +45 35 33 32 45

Member of:

    Current research

     

    "The application of EU Competition Law to online multi-sided platforms"

    This PhD project comes at a moment of significant judicial ferment surrounding digital multi-sided platforms.

    The complex digital and economic environment into which tech giants like Google, Amazon Marketplace or Booking.com operate has created disagreement and legal uncertainties in the decisional practice of Competition Authorities, both at the EU and national level. Such legal uncertainty, in turn, has led to inconsistent outcomes in the evaluation of market practices.

    In light of the foregoing, this research seeks to enhance the legal understanding of the multi-sided business model in EU Competition Law perspective. Thus, consistently with the need to develop a "more economic approach" in EU Competition Law proceedings, the main claim of this thesis is that the recourse to the economics of multi-sided platforms by Competition Authorities would be capable to reduce the present uncertainties, at the same time lowering the risk of errors in decision-making. Such a stance would be now supported by an increasing number of legal scholars. Furthermore, it also appears that some National Courts have started to rely upon the economics of the two-sided market theory in taking their decisions.

    The project starts by identifying and analyzing the main sources of uncertainties and errors in the application of EU Competition law that could derive from the complex economic and digital context characterizing multi-sided platforms. The project underlines how each of these uncertainties could have legal consequences in terms of liability, legal qualification of market practices, and application of the relevant competition law rules, thus increasing the risk of errors in the decision-making process – particularly, type-I errors (decisions prohibiting lawful practices) or type-II errors (decisions failing to prohibit unlawful ones).

    Secondly, the project proposes to overcome enforcement uncertainties by means of a greater implementation of a now mainstream economic theory, namely the so-called two-sided market theory, which has been developed by Industrial Organization (IO) economists over the past 20 years. This theory is said capable to describe the specific functioning and economic assumptions characterizing multi-sided platforms and to shed light on features distinguishing this business model from more traditional one-sided businesses. The thesis evaluates whether the law, as currently framed and interpreted, is capable to implement multi-sided considerations, or whether there are legal requirements in current competition law rules and standards, which could obstacle such implementation. 

    All in all, the aim of this project is to cast light on how a greater implementation of the two-sided market theory into competition law analysis would allow to reduce the likelihood of type-I and type-II errors, and to increase the legal certainty when enforcing EU Competition Law in a digital multi-sided environment.

    Teaching

    EU Competition Law

    ID: 169400568