Net neutrality: A simple goal with some difficult implementation ahead
Joshua Gans 11 June 2014
Netflix recently agreed to pay Comcast for faster access to Comcast’s customers, intensifying the debate over ‘net neutrality’ – the principle that internet service providers should treat all data equally. This column argues that without net neutrality regulation, ISPs can capture the benefits of higher-quality content, thereby discouraging innovation from content providers. To be effective, net-neutrality regulation must prevent content-based price discrimination on both sides of the market.
Net neutrality has a simple goal – to ensure that consumers face an undistorted choice in choosing where to devote their attention on the Internet. The rationale for that goal is to ensure a ‘level playing field’ for those who provide content, applications, or anything else via the Internet.
Competition policy Industrial organisation Microeconomic regulation
US, technology, market power, regulation, internet, price discrimination, net neutrality, Federal Communications Commission
Market power and the (non-)application of competition laws to trade policies
Bruce Blonigen 28 April 2008
Though policymakers show great concern for market power when discussing antitrust policy, they neglect it when designing trade policies. This column summarises recent empirical research showing that some trade barriers impose significant costs on consumers by substantially raising the market power of domestic firms.
The main premise of antitrust (or competition) laws is to proscribe practices that allow firms to limit competition in the marketplace. As is well known, limiting competition allows firms to raise prices above their marginal costs (something we call market power). Market power creates profits for firms, but the profits are more than offset by losses in consumer surplus. This translates into net (or deadweight) losses for society, and such losses are, obviously, something to be avoided.
trade policy, market power, anti-competitive effects, antidumping reforms