An introduction to the competition law and economics of "free"

Benjamin Edelman, Damien Geradin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Many of the largest and most successful businesses today rely on providing service at no charge to at least a portion of their users. Free services often delight users, yet also create a series of challenges for competition policy, including impeding entry, inviting overproduction on quality, and increasing the risk of deception and overpayment. This short paper presents these problems, examines the strategies that entrants can attempt when competing with free service, and considers possible regulatory responses.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalCompetition Policy International - Antitrust Chronicle
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2018


  • two-sided markets
  • zero pricing
  • antitrust
  • competition
  • Internet
  • disruptive innovation
  • platforms
  • data


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