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Big Data is a big deal in today’s digital data-driven economy. Together with Big Analytics, it is increasingly central to strategic decision-making as companies strive for a 'data advantage' over rivals. Data-driven mergers are on the rise and there are growing risks of algorithmic coordination with anti-competitive effects. Data-based business strategies have significant implications for competition policy and law. Competition authorities around the world are grappling with big questions regarding data in defining markets and assessing market power. Close attention is being paid to questions concerning the collection and use of data in the settings of merger review and abuse of dominance and cartel investigations. At the same time, the intersection between competition, consumer protection and privacy is raising important institutional questions for the allocation and coordination of policy, regulatory and legal responses.
This subject will explore global developments in this complex and fast-moving field. Drawing on the latest literature and major cases and inquiries, it will equip students to critically engage with and meet the challenges posed for business and its advisors and for policymakers, regulators and law enforcers in the Big Data era.
Principal topics will include:
- Defining Big Data
- Debating the competitive significance of Big Data
- Competition law tools in the era of Big Data
- Big Data and merger review
- Big Data and abuse of dominance
- Big Data and collusion
- Regulating Big Data
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students will:
- have an advanced and integrated understanding of the nature and significance of Big Data, its related technologies and the actors in its eco-system for competition policy and law;
- be able to critically examine and analyse the application of competition law tools in the context of data-driven business strategies and transactions;
- be an informed and engaged participant in important debates about the role of Big Data in competition policy and law and the need to adapt rules and tools to accommodate this role;
- have sophisticated cognitive and technical skills that equip them to apply and communicate their learning in the contexts of merger review, abuse of dominance and collusion;
- appreciate the institutional synergies and tensions between the fields of competition, consumer protection and privacy as policy and regulatory responses to Big Data business models; and
- have an advanced capacity to use the knowledge and skills students have gained in the subject in a way that demonstrates effective autonomy, judgment, adaptability and responsibility as an expert learner and practitioner in the field of global competition and consumer law.
Last updated: 17 March 2020