2019 Baxt Lecture

CLEN Baxt 2019

The 10th Annual Baxt Lecture With Panel Discussion, Melbourne Law School

Competition Law and "Big Data":  What Does It Mean for Data to Be "Big"?

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Lecture by Professor Christopher Yoo

Competition enforcement authorities around the world are paying increasing attention to large providers of Internet-based services.  In particular, these authorities are focusing on the potential challenges posed by “big data,” an approach that would focus less on these companies’ positions in the markets in which they provide services to consumers and more on the amount of consumer information they are able to obtain and control.  Unfortunately, “big data” is often used simply as a buzzword without any nuance or analysis.  This lecture provided greater insight into what it means for data to be big by providing an overview of how predictive analytics use data, surveying the empirical literature on scale economies in data, and by examining the importance of attributes of data other than size.  In addition, it explored the impact of how different business models use data as well as the key analytical steps needed to determine the relationship between big data and consumer welfare.

Speaker: Christopher S. Yoo is the John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer & Information Science and the Founding Director of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is the author of five books and over one hundred scholarly articles and has taught at over a dozen universities around the world. His major research projects include comparing due process in antitrust enforcement practices in China, Europe, and the U.S.; analyzing these jurisdictions’ responses to big data; assessing antitrust liability for high-tech platforms; and analyzing the technical determinants of optimal interoperability.  He has also created innovative joint degree programs designed to produce a new generation of professionals with advanced training in both law and engineering. Professor Yoo received his A.B. from Harvard University, his M.B.A. from UCLA, and his J.D. from Northwestern University.  Before entering the academy, Professor Yoo clerked for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States and practiced law with the predecessor firm to Hogan Lovells under the supervision of now-Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.  He is frequently called to testify before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Justice Department Antitrust Division, U.S. Federal Communications Commission, foreign governments, and international organizations.  He is currently serving as a member of the Federal Communication Commission’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, the Board of Advisers for the American Law Institute’s Project on Principles of Law for Data Privacy, and the joint European Law Institute-American Law Institute project on Principles for a Data Economy.

Panel discussion

Building on Professor Yoo’s address, the panel discussion focused on current developments around the world that involve regulating for greater data access and portability as a pro-competition reform. As a tool increasingly seen as important in empowering consumers, reducing entry barriers and spurring innovation, Australia’s Consumer Data Right is at the forefront of these developments.  The panel reflected on the rationale for and process of designing this regulation and its implications from business, consumer and technological perspectives. Panel members were:

Event Recording

Photography and video for this event by Artificial Studios


The Law School gratefully acknowledges the sponsorship of Ashurst, DIGIHoustonKemp Economists and Melbourne Business School for this year’s event.


Ashurst is a leading global law firm with 27 offices in 16 countries. In Australia and across Asia, Ashurst's competition practice is a leader in the market, dynamic and highly capable across the full suite of competition law issues, including domestic and cross-border merger clearances, cartel conduct, infrastructure access issues, consumer protection, market investigations and market studies, misuse of market power, and appeals and litigation.  The team's loyal clients include both international and pre-eminent Australian businesses across a wide range of industries.

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Digi is a not for profit industry association representing the digital industry in Australia.

HK logoHoustonKemp’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.

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Melbourne Business School is Australia's leading provider of business education and insight, offering a range of MBA and other postgraduate degrees, short courses for professionals and custom learning solutions for organisations.