Share

Competition

Algorithmic competition

 

Read the background note 

Algorithms have gained significant attention in recent years given technological advancements in AI and growing amounts of data. Algorithms can be used for a range of purposes. Firms increasingly use algorithms to set prices. Algorithms allow consumers to rapidly search for products and receive personalised recommendations. However, while algorithms provide many benefits, they can also reduce competition, and harm consumers.

In June 2023, the OECD held a roundtable that explored algorithmic theories of harm and example cases. It also studied whether existing competition law is sufficient to address algorithmic theories of harm and potential remedies and how competition authorities can investigate algorithms. 

KEY FINDINGS FROM THE JUNE 2023 DISCUSSION

The discussion highlighted the various ways in which algorithms can harm consumers, both through co-ordinated conduct (such as algorithmic collusion) and unilateral conduct (such as algorithmic exclusionary and exploitative abuses). Algorithms can change the assumptions on which competition law is based and competition authorities should continue to consider to what extent the existing law may need to change to reflect this. Finally, the experts and delegates discussed the range of methods available to investigate algorithms, as well as the breadth of evidence that an authority could consider. The most relevant technique is usually case-specific. An authority will not always need to adopt sophisticated technical approaches, and simpler methods or evidence may be sufficient in some cases. There have still been relatively few relevant cases and authorities often face several practical challenges when investigating an algorithm. However, authorities are increasingly developing in-house technical knowledge to build their capacity to take on cases involving algorithms, which is important, as these types of cases are likely to become more common.

2024 OECD COMPETITION OPEN DAY EXPLORES ALGORITHMS AND COMPETITION

The findings of the June 2023 discussion will be presented to the public at large during the 2024 edition of our OECD Competition Open Day on 6 March 2024. Register now to find out all about the session!

Access related documentation: June 2023 materialsMore related litterature 

See the full list of best practice roundtables on competition.

JUNE 2023 SESSION INFORMATION AND MATERIALS

Speakers

Emilio Calvano Bio  
Full Professor, University of Rome and Associate Faculty, Toulouse School of Economics  

Michal Gal Bio 
Professor of Law, University of Haifa

Cathy O'Neil Bio 
Data Scientist and CEO of ORCAA (O'Neil Risk Consulting & Algorithmic Auditing)

Documents 

OECD Background Note l Note de référence de l'OCDE

Auditing as Policy - Note by Cathy O'Neil

Detailed summary of the discussion EN | FR

Executive summary with key findings EN | FR

More related litterature 

 

Contributions from participating delegations

BIAC

Brazil

Denmark

European Union

France EN | FR

Germany

Italy 

Japan

Kazakhstan

Korea

Mexico

Norway

Portugal

South Africa

Spain 

United Kingdom

Summaries of contributions

Presentations

 

Related best practice roundtables

Data Screening Tools for Competition Investigations (2022)

Ex Ante Regulation and Competition in Digital Markets (2021)

 (2020)

Personalised Pricing in the Digital Era (2018)

Algorithms and collusion (2017)

Related litterature and other links

Algorithms, AI and Mergers by Michal Gal & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, June 2023  Link to an external site icon

Impact on Algorithms on Competition and Competition Law by Antonio Capobianco,  May 2023 Link to an external site icon

Algorithms as Illegal Agreements by Michal Gal, May 2018 Link to an external site icon

Algorithmic Predation and Exclusion by Thomas Cheng and Julian Nowag, October 2021 Link to an external site icon‌  

OECD Business and Finance Outlook 2021 - AI in Business and Finance

Protecting consumers from collusive prices due to AI by E. Calvano et al, November 2020 Link to an external site icon

Artificial Intelligence & Collusion: When Computers Inhibit Competition by Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice Stucke, 2015 Link to an external site icon‌ 

OECD best practice roundtables on competition

More OECD work on competition

 

Related Documents