Competition Law and Digital Markets Regulation

The Economics Law Department Center for Studies held an event with two experts to explain the algorithms and collusion in digital markets challenges facing regulators and supervisors.

First, Constanza Blanco, Economics Law Department Professor-Researcher, presented the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) document “Algorithms and collusion. Competition policy in the digital age.”

Then, Felipe Serrano Pinilla, partner of the law firm Serrano Martínez, and Externado Professor-Researcher, exposed the application of the topic to selected cases where algorithms were utilized. Serrano explained the algorithmic collusion scenario and the role played by algorithms in setting pricing and products trends in the digital market. Currently, the use of algorithms is not punishable, but is the subject of debate among professionals and academics, for its effects.

Serrano stated the legal regime for competition protection is equipped to tackle the challenges involving algorithms. Likewise, he acknowledged algorithms will make more stable cartels and will facilitate the parallel, which constitutes a great challenge. There is the challenge on how to approach behaviors such as the design of algorithms unilaterally, so they reach non-competition scenarios, without an express agreement. Europe is more reluctant to this phenomenon than the USA.

Lastly, Serrano pointed out the significance of these academic events: “Competition Law has acquired fundamental importance in Colombia in recent years, as a result of the work performed by the Superintendence. Digital economy and algorithms represent new challenges for organizations and the authorities; addressing these issues to determine what is legal, what is illegal, what are the grey areas, are very important discussion spaces, especially in the Externado scenario.”