2018 Baxt Lecture

David Evans
David Evans

The 9th Annual Baxt Lecture With Panel Discussion, Melbourne Law School

Competition Policy for the Matchmaker Economy: Insights from the New Economics of Multisided Platforms

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Speakers: The Baxt Lecture was delivered by Dr David EvansChairman, Global Economics Group, and was followed by a panel of commentators: Associate Professor Sora Park, Director, News and Media Research Centre, University of Canberra, Lauren Solomon, CEO, Consumer Policy Research Centre, Dr Katharine Kemp, University of New South Wales Allens Hub, Technology, Innovation and the Law, Dr Stephen King, Member, Productivity Commission, Greg Houston, Partner, Houston Kemp Economists.

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David Evans lecture

Matchmakers operate platforms that enable different types of participants, like drivers and passengers in the case of Uber, to connect and exchange value. These types of businesses have been around for millennia but have become much more common and important, as a result of technological change.  Several of the largest companies in the world, such as Apple, Google, and Facebook, follow this business model as do many of most valuable startups, such as Uber and Airbnb.  The new economics of multisided platforms provides important insights into competition policy for these businesses. Competition authorities and courts have already incorporated some of the new learning into their analyses.  After providing an overview of the economics of matchmakers this event examined outstanding issues on how to define markets, analyse competitive effects, and reduce false positive and negative findings for platform-based industries. Its timing is significant given the current global debate about the impact of platforms on competition in various markets and in Australia, particularly so in light of the inquiry being conducted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission into digital platforms. David Evans is one of the world’s leading authorities on the economics of multi-sided platforms and he is the co-author of the widely acclaimed book on the topic, Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms.

David S Evans is an economist.  He is Chairman of Global Economics Group, based in its Boston office, and is Executive Director of the Jevons Institute for Competition Law and Economics and Visiting Professor at University College London. His academic work has focused on industrial organization, including antitrust economics, with a particular expertise in multisided platforms, digital economy, information technology, and payment systems.  He has authored 8 books, including two award winners, and more than 100 articles in these areas.  His most recent book, with Richard Schmalensee, is Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platform. Dr. Evans has taught courses related to antitrust economics, primarily for graduate students, judges and officials, and practitioners, and has authored handbook chapters on various antitrust subjects. He has served as a testifying or consulting expert on many significant antirust matters in the United States, European Union, and China. He has a Ph.D. degree in economics from the University of Chicago.

Panel discussion

The timing of this event was significant given the current global debate about the impact of platforms on competition in various markets and in Australia in light of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Inquiry into Digital Platforms.The lecture was followed by a discussion by a panel dealing with issues raised by the ACCC’s inquiry.  Panellists included:

The Law School gratefully acknowledges the sponsorship of Gilbert + Tobin and HoustonKemp Economists for this year’s event.

Gilbert + Tobin’s market-leading Competition + Regulation practice is one of the largest in Australia. Working on some of the most complex and high-profile transactions across Australia and the Asia Pacific region. We are the “go-to” firm for ground breaking competition and regulatory work and have been acknowledged by numerous independent publications and directories both locally and overseas.

HoustonKemp’s expert economists have a long track record in assisting high stakes decision-making through the use of evidence-based economic analysis that is focused, accessible and capable of withstanding the most intense scrutiny. Our clients include corporations, governments, trade associations, and law firms engaged in commercial and criminal litigation.