After a day and a half of discussing larger themes in antitrust policy and taking stock of the last five years in antitrust reform, the Stigler Center’s 2022 antitrust and competition conference moved to its case study portion. The conference dedicated a panel to discuss the anticompetitive conduct of Google, especially in the adtech and search markets, in addition to a separate panel on Facebook.
The moderator of the panel, the Wall Street Journal’s Jacob Schlesinger (a former Stigler Center Journalist in Residence), began with his “disclosures,” demonstrating the pervasiveness of Google in our lives: exchanging emails with the panelists over Gmail, using Google search to study articles on the topic, and Google Maps to get to the conference itself. He also listed the lawsuits recently filed against the company: In October 2020, the Department of Justice, along with 11 states, contested Google’s anticompetitive practices in search. Following this, two state-led lawsuits (Texas and Colorado) also contested “vertical search” practices related to Reviews and Travel, claiming that they disadvantage competitors like Yelp and Kayak, respectively. (Google has denied all these allegations and is contesting them.)
Panelists included Cristina Caffarra, a Senior Consultant at Charles River Associates [note: Caffarra has since left CRA and now heads Keystone Europe]; Sarah Miller, Founder and Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project (AELP); Randy Picker, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School who teaches a popular course on Platforms and Network Industries; and Steven Tadelis, an economist, professor, and expert in e-commerce and economics of the internet at the University of California at Berkeley.
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