Hipster Antitrust, the European Way? – Annual Conference of the Florence Competition Programme

25th October 2019 – Refettorio, European University Institute

The fourth Annual Conference of the Florence Competition Programme (FCP) will take place on 25th October 2019 at the European University Institute (EUI) campus in Florence. The conference will discuss the main ideas behind the new Hipster Antitrust movement in USA and its influence on EU competition policy and beyond.

The past decades have been characterised by a limited antitrust enforcement in USA. Due to the “non-interventionist approach” suggested by the Chicago school and the high burden to prove antitrust violations introduced by US Supreme Court case law, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have been rather reluctant to start any public enforcement action under US antitrust rules. Nevertheless, in view of the growing degree of market concentration of the US economy, in recent years a number of academics have argued in favour of a stronger degree of intervention by US antitrust authorities, in order to come back to the original goals of the US Sherman and Clayton Act.

So far, the intellectual movement, known as “Hipster Antitrust” or “New-Brandeis School”, has had a limited policy impact in USA. By contrast, the European Commission and a number of NCAs in Europe have recently started to enforce EU competition rules more actively. In particular, the recent Facebook decision in Germany and the cases of excessive prices in the pharmaceutical sector sanctioned by a number of NCAs show the growing relevance of exploitative abuses under EU competition policy – i.e. an example of stronger degree of competition policy intervention in line with the ideas of the Hipster Antitrust movement. Secondly, the on-going debate in Europe on the enlargement of the goals of EU competition law beyond consumers’ welfare, in order to include fairness considerations, closely resemble the arguments put forward by the Hipster Antitrust movement. Finally, the on-going debate in Europe on whether and to what extent the high degree of market concentration in digital markets should be tackled via preventive measures (e.g. closer scrutiny of “innovation killer mergers”) is in line with the ideas of the Hipster Antitrust movement.

The conference aims to gather academics, practitioners, officials from National Competition Authorities (NCAs) and representatives of the industry. The Conference aims at a lively and balanced debate, where well-known academics and practitioners will be able to discuss these crucial questions for the enforcement of competition policy in the coming years.

Practical information

The participation fee is 250€.

The conference fee can be waived for full time academics, officials from National Competition Authorities as well as representatives of firms sponsoring the FCP project. 

Representatives of FCP Donors may be invited to speak at the event.

For further information on how to become a Donor of Florence Competition Programme please have a look  here.

How to reach us

Please keep in mind when booking your tickets that Florence is also well connected to Pisa and Bologna airports.

Pisa is 80 km away and it served by both trains (1h15) and buses (50 minutes).

Bologna is 100 km away and it is served by high speed trains – Trenitalia or Italo (30 minutes from Bologna central station to Florence main station of Santa Maria Novella). From the airport to Bologna train station about 30 minutes by bus.

A shuttle bus will be organized from Florence central station to the conference venue before and after the conference.

The conference will take place on 25th October 2019 from 9.30 to 17.30.

The programme of the event and the online registration will be available in the coming months.

Draft Programme

9.30 – 9.45Welcome
Pier Luigi Parcu, EUI
9.45 – 10.30Key-note speech
10.30 – 11.00Coffee break
11.00-12.30Panel I: The Goals of EU Competition Policy: Shall We Go Beyond Consumers’ Welfare?
Introduction: Sandra Marco Colino, Chinese University of Honk Kong (t.b.c.)
1) Timothy Brennan, University of Maryland – Baltimore County
2) Giorgio Monti, Tilburg University / EUI
3) Representative of FCP Donor (t.b.d.)
4) Representative of FCP Donor (t.b.d.)
12.30 – 13.30Lunch
13.30 – 15.00Panel II: Exploitative abuses in the pharma and digital markets
Introduction: Marco Botta, EUI
1) Pedro Caro de Sousa, OECD Secretariat
2) Maria Teresa Maggiolino, Bocconi University
3) Representative of FCP Donor (t.b.d.)
4) Representative of FCP Donor (t.b.d.)
15.00 – 15.30Coffee break
Panel III: How to Tackle Concentration in Digital Markets
Introduction: Michal Gal, University of Haifa
1) t.b.d
2) Pier Luigi Parcu, EUI
3) Michele Piergiovanni, DG Competition, European Commission
4) Hein Hobbelen, Bird & Bird LLP
5) Representative of FCP Donor (t.b.d.)
17.15 – 17.30Concluding remarks
Pier Luigi Parcu, EUI