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May 22, 2018
Brattle Principal Eliana Garcés has Article on Large Data Collection Published in Antitrust Chronicle

Brattle Principal Eliana Garcés had a paper published in the spring 2018 issue of The Antitrust Chronicle. The article, “Data Collection In Online Platform Businesses: A Perspective For Antitrust Assessment,” discusses the impact of data collection and usage by online platforms and the consequences for these organizations and their users.

Companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and PayPal collect their users’ data to improve the quality of their platforms. With detailed user data, organizations are able to predict market behavior which allows them to enhance the information available on their platforms and acquire new users. The result of properly analyzed data can also provide them with a strong competitive advantage. Proper management of user data, such as targeted advertising, may also lead to a reduction in cost for the platform.

Online platforms that create value from data adjust their business models accordingly impacting the final users and businesses that chose to operate on these platforms. Regulators have grown concerned about a possible unfairness of these commercial relations and discussions abound about the opportunity for antitrust intervention or other regulatory solution. Yet, the economics of these business models and the implications of changing contractual terms are still not well understood.

Dr. Garcés notes that intervention without a proper understanding of the dynamics of the business model may interfere with the development of promising new technologies, which would be a detriment to both the user and the business.

In the article, Dr. Garcés contends that data collection is part of the value creation of many platforms today and will impact the design and integration of new and better goods and services going forward.