How to measure privacy-related consumer harm in merger analysis? : a critical reassessment of the EU Commission's merger control in data-driven markets
Title: How to measure privacy-related consumer harm in merger analysis? : a critical reassessment of the EU Commission's merger control in data-driven markets
Author: DEUTSCHER, Elias
Series/Number: EUI LAW; 2018/13
This study contributes to the current debate on how privacy concerns can and should be integrated into merger analysis. First, I contend that while competition authorities increasingly account for the role of personal data as a source of market power and entry barriers, privacy-related consumer harm still remains a blind spot in merger analysis. Second, I discuss how this analytical gap can be filled by mapping out three potential theories of privacy-related consumer harm: namely, privacy as an element of product quality, privacy as a feature of consumer choice, and privacy as non-monetary price. Third, and this is my major claim and contribution, this study proposes willingness-to-pay studies in the form of conjoint analysis as a methodology that enables competition authorities to quantify privacy-related consumer harm in monetary terms. In a fourth section, this study discusses potential objections to this approach. In so doing, it shows that the widespread opposition against the incorporation of privacy into merger analysis is based on a ‘privacy fallacy’. This ‘privacy fallacy’ derives from the erroneous assumption that deteriorations in the level of privacy protection as a consequence of a merger automatically amount to a breach of data-protection rules which should be addressed by data protection authorities, but which do not constitute an antitrust concern.
Subject: Big data; Competition law; Privacy; Merger control; Conjoint analysis
Type of Access: openAccess