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Facultat de Dret de la Universitat de València
(València) (ver mapa)

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One of the most relevant and disruptive transformations of the current economic system is the existence of an increasing number of intermediation firms through which goods and services are marketed. Regardless of their correspondence to traditional markets, digital markets have earned a major role given the efficiency advantages they offer in the management of supply and demand. As a consequence of this digitalization, mature and traditional markets, where non-digital brokers played the role of intermediation agencies (travel market, short accommodation and hosting markets, tutoring lessons, housekeeping services, etc.) have witnessed an increase in their transactions. Ultimately, the most obvious and relevant result of the digitalization of the economy is the transformation of the role of intermediaries and their increasing status as fair, efficient and non-discriminatory competition guardians.

The social and economic significance of these new developments requires a comprehensive study of current and future problems –some of them new, some old- and an analysis of how traditional competition regulation of private markets tries to solve them. In many cases, some of these rules are outdated and need to be rethought.  The question basically is: to what extent are the objectives of traditional competition law for intermediaries valid in the light of the new digital market (im)balance? These are some of the problems that need to be addressed:

Market digitalization and dominance: do we need different criteria to determine what constitutes a dominant position in digital markets?

Big data and competition: what kind of data usage is appropriate from a competitor’s discrimination perspective? And even more so, can we implement a public regulation that sets requirements for data sharing? (is there something such as a dominant position over data that can be prohibited by Law?)

Digital intermediation, big data, efficiency and competition: what kind of efficiency increases can be labelled as harmful?

Pricing and other dominance abuses.

Intermediation and its connection with illicit conducts. Is it possible that an efficiency-oriented algorithm set to prevent the service from breaching competition law establishes conditions so inflexible that they effectively limit competition?

Technologic development and legal and institutional reaction to change: Who has to lead the change and through which means?

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Universidad de Valencia

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