Annual Baxt Lecture

The Competition Law & Economics Network hosts an Annual Public Lecture Series on competition law and economics related issues. The Lecture is given by an eminent international or national figure in this field on a topic of contemporary relevance. The intention behind the Lecture series is to highlight and generate debate about big picture policy issues as well as provide comparative insights from other jurisdictions.

About Professor Baxt

The lecture is named in honour of Emeritus Professor Bob Baxt AO in recognition of his substantial contribution to the development of competition law in Australia. In particular, the lecture acknowledges his significant support for the establishment of competition law as a recognised and sought after discipline at the graduate level at the Melbourne Law School. Professor Baxt was the Chair of the Advisory Board of the competition and consumer law specialty in the Melbourne Law Masters program.

2022 Baxt Lecture

The 13th Annual Baxt Lecture

Tuesday 25 October 2022

How Big Tech Barons Smash Innovation

Lecture by Professor Ariel Ezrachi


When we think about the digital economy, many of us immediately think about innovation. After all, there is little doubt as to the significant investments in research and development that are made by leading tech firms.

But, therein lies a more complex and worrisome tale, in which distortion of innovation, exclusion and toxicity play a role. The lecture will explore the means through which a few big tech firms, in controlling significant ecosystems, distort the paths of innovation and undermine disruption, to safeguard their own value chains.

These strategies not only affect our online environment but result in ripple effects that change the nature of innovation that reaches the market. Many of us already sense that these toxic innovations weaken social cohesion, increase tribalism, and undermine democracy. And yet, current incentives and policies offer limited relief.

In this lecture, Professor Ezrachi will argue that, to ensure that innovation delivers on its promise, we must take account of the value of the innovation, acknowledge the incentives at stake, seek to promote the diversity of innovation and not simply assume that the current toxic innovation trajectory will self-correct.

Professor Julie Clarke of Melbourne Law School provided comments on the lecture.


Professor Ariel Ezrachi is the Slaughter and May Professor of Competition Law at the University of Oxford and the Director of the University of Oxford Centre for Competition Law and Policy. He is the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Antitrust Enforcement (OUP) and the author, and co-author, of numerous books, including How Big Tech Barons Smash Innovation (HarperCollins, 2022), Competition and Antitrust law (OUP, 2021), EU Competition law – An Analytical Guide to the Leading Cases (Hart, 2021), Competition Overdose (Harper Collins, 2020), and Virtual Competition (Harvard, 2016). Professor Ezrachi’s research and commentary have been featured in The Economist, The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Guardian, Nikkei, New Scientist, Politico, WIRED, BBC, and other international outlets.

Event Recording:

Past Baxt Lectures