RSF trustee Jason Furman testified recently for the “Online Platforms and Market Power: The Role of Data and Privacy in Competition” hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law. Other testimonies were made by Rohit Chopra, commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, and Roslyn Layton, Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Furman, building upon his recent work on competition in digital platforms in the United Kingdom as well as research published by the University of Chicago’s Stigler Center Committee on Digital Platforms, concentrated his testimony on the following points, offering recommendations on how to enforce healthy competition and merger regulation among digital platforms:
- The major digital platforms are highly concentrated and, absent policy changes, this concentration will likely persist with detrimental consequences for consumers.
- More robust competition policy can benefit consumers by helping to lower prices, improve quality, expand choices, and accelerate innovation.
- More robust merger enforcement should be part of the solution to expand competition, including better technical capacity on the part of regulators, more forward-looking merger enforcement that is focused on potential competition and innovation, and legal changes to clarify these processes for the courts.
- A regulatory approach that is oriented towards increasing competition by establishing and enforcing a code of conduct, promoting systems with open standards and data mobility, and supporting data openness is essential.
Furman is Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and a nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He is a former economic adviser to President Obama and served as the 28th Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. He has served as a Director of the Hamilton Project, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and in visiting positions at various universities, including New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Policy. Furman joined the RSF Board of Trustees in November 2018.