Algorithms and fairness: What role for competition law in targeting price discrimination towards end consumers

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Abstract

While algorithms bring about benefits for consumers in the form of more
efficient price setting, they have also resulted in concerns about possible
adverse effects, including discrimination. This Article takes a competition law
perspective to analyze a type of discrimination that the use of algorithms may
facilitate, namely personalized pricing. This is a form of price discrimination
between consumers whereby a firm charges each consumer a different price
depending on willingness to pay. As the advent of data analytics and
algorithm-based services has made it easier for firms to engage in price
discrimination, a clarification of the latter’s legality under competition law
is welcome. As such, this Article discusses the extent to which competition
enforcement can be desirable for targeting price discrimination towards end
consumers. In this regard, the interaction with other regimes such as data
protection, consumer protection, and antidiscrimination law, is also
considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-559
Number of pages19
JournalColumbia Journal of European Law
Volume24
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Fingerprint

Price discrimination
Fairness
Competition law
Targeting
Discrimination
Consumer protection
Willingness-to-pay
Price setting
Consumer prices
Pricing
Charge
Interaction

Keywords

  • Price discrimination
  • Competition
  • Data Protection
  • Consumer Protection
  • Law and Economics

Cite this

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title = "Algorithms and fairness: What role for competition law in targeting price discrimination towards end consumers",
abstract = "While algorithms bring about benefits for consumers in the form of moreefficient price setting, they have also resulted in concerns about possibleadverse effects, including discrimination. This Article takes a competition lawperspective to analyze a type of discrimination that the use of algorithms mayfacilitate, namely personalized pricing. This is a form of price discriminationbetween consumers whereby a firm charges each consumer a different pricedepending on willingness to pay. As the advent of data analytics andalgorithm-based services has made it easier for firms to engage in pricediscrimination, a clarification of the latter’s legality under competition lawis welcome. As such, this Article discusses the extent to which competitionenforcement can be desirable for targeting price discrimination towards endconsumers. In this regard, the interaction with other regimes such as dataprotection, consumer protection, and antidiscrimination law, is alsoconsidered.",
keywords = "Price discrimination, Competition, Data Protection, Consumer Protection, Law and Economics",
author = "Inge Graef",
year = "2018",
language = "English",
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journal = "Columbia Journal of European Law",
issn = "1076-6715",
number = "3",

}

Algorithms and fairness : What role for competition law in targeting price discrimination towards end consumers. / Graef, Inge.

In: Columbia Journal of European Law, Vol. 24, No. 3, 2018, p. 541-559.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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T1 - Algorithms and fairness

T2 - What role for competition law in targeting price discrimination towards end consumers

AU - Graef, Inge

PY - 2018

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AB - While algorithms bring about benefits for consumers in the form of moreefficient price setting, they have also resulted in concerns about possibleadverse effects, including discrimination. This Article takes a competition lawperspective to analyze a type of discrimination that the use of algorithms mayfacilitate, namely personalized pricing. This is a form of price discriminationbetween consumers whereby a firm charges each consumer a different pricedepending on willingness to pay. As the advent of data analytics andalgorithm-based services has made it easier for firms to engage in pricediscrimination, a clarification of the latter’s legality under competition lawis welcome. As such, this Article discusses the extent to which competitionenforcement can be desirable for targeting price discrimination towards endconsumers. In this regard, the interaction with other regimes such as dataprotection, consumer protection, and antidiscrimination law, is alsoconsidered.

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KW - Competition

KW - Data Protection

KW - Consumer Protection

KW - Law and Economics

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JF - Columbia Journal of European Law

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