Antitrust & “Hipster Trustbusters” with Danielle Wood from Grattan – Economics Explained EP22

The massive market power of the big tech companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, has prompted a renewed interest in antitrust laws. To discuss antitrust, I invited Danielle Wood from the Grattan Institute on to my Economics Explained podcast, and I’ve just published the recording. Danielle is Budget Policy and Institutional Reform Program Director at Grattan. Later this year, she will take up the CEO position at the Institute. Danielle is well qualified to talk about antitrust, having once worked as Principal Economist and Mergers Director at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Check out Danielle’s 2019 Inside Story article The hipster trustbusters.

Use these timestamps to jump right to the highlights:

  • 1:45 – what is antitrust?
  • 5:40 – the hipster trustbusters
  • 8:58 – the problem with Amazon
  • 12:20 – the Chicago school view on anti-trust
  • 17:28 – the data the tech companies have on us and network effects as barriers to entry
  • 19:45 – Grattan’s analysis of market concentration in Australia
  • 25:05 – problem isn’t market power per se, but the abuse of it
  • 26:15 – discussion of US Department of Justice-Microsoft case
  • 31:10 – should we break up the big tech companies?
  • 33:29 – ACCC has been good at pushing for new powers, but it hasn’t been successful in mergers cases in the courts in the last 20 years

The episode was recorded via Zoom video conferencing on the 10th of February 2020.

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