Competition policy in action: Regulating tech markets with hierarchy and experimentalism

Giorgio Monti, Bernardo Rangoni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Although experimentalist governance - presented as a novel alternative to conventional hierarchical governance - has attracted attention over the past 15 years, we still know little about its real spread and scope conditions. Examining the application of competition policy to the digital sector, the article reveals that the European Competition Network and the procedures modernized in the early 2000s actually host a variety of governance processes, ranging from hierarchical development and enforcement of stable solutions at one extreme to experimentalist discretion of local actors, review of their implementation experiences, and central revisions in their light at the other. Futher, shifts from hierarchy to experimentalism might reverse. As for explanations, variation in governance processes cannot be explained by formal distributions of power, which were the same. Instead, the greater the uncertainty about solutions and the weaker the readily available coalitions in their support, the more actors favored experimentalist governance, and vice versa. The broader implications thus caution against general claims, challenge the influence of legal factors, and suggest that far from being necessarily antitethical, functional and political factors may bear together on the spread of distinct forms of governance.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Common Market Studies
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Dec 2021


  • competition policy
  • digital markets
  • experimentalist governance
  • structure
  • behaviour


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