The Digital Competition Expert Panel was established by the Chancellor in September 2018. The Panel was chaired by Professor Jason Furman and composed of experts in economics, competition policy, law and computer science – Professor Diane Coyle, Professor Amelia Fletcher, Professor Philip Marsden and Professor Derek McAuley. The Panel’s terms of reference asked it to consider the potential opportunities and challenges the emerging digital economy may pose for competition and pro-competition policy, and to make recommendations on any changes that may be needed. In particular, the Panel was asked to examine: the impacts of the emergence of a small number of big players in digital markets such as social media, e-commerce, search, and online advertising; appropriate approaches to mergers, takeovers and anti-competitive practices in digital markets; opportunities to enhance competition, to increase business innovation and expand consumer choice how best to assess consumer impacts in ad-funded products and services that are ‘free’ to consumers.
The Panel ran a call for evidence between October and December 2018 to inform its analysis of competition in digital markets and to support its development of recommendations. Copies of public response to the call for evidence can be found on the consultation page.
The Panel’s final report – ‘Unlocking digital competition’ – makes recommendations for changes to the UK’s competition framework that are needed to face the economic challenges posed by digital markets, in the UK and internationally. Their report recommends updating the rules governing merger and antitrust enforcement, as well as proposing a bold set of pro-competition measures to open up digital markets.