Market Power in the Digital Economy and Competition Policy


Market power is a fundamental concept for competition law and policy: it can make the difference between procompetitive and abusive firm conduct, and the difference between beneficial and harmful mergers. In the wake of digitalisation, it has become a particular concern: evidence such as growing mark-ups suggests that market power is on the rise, and potentially becoming more durable, in digital-intensive sectors.

The assessment of market power in digital markets can present a range of challenges for authorities.

In June 2022, the OECD discussed some of these key challenges, including:

  • How should the competition analysis of market power be adapted to digitalisation? For instance, should particular contributors to market power, such as specific entry barriers, play a more prominent role?
  • Is there a need for the concept of market power to be broadened or supplemented to address specific concerns in digital markets? For example, does the concept of market power need to be adapted to digital platform business models? Or, alternatively, do the competition concerns in the wake of digitalisation continue to have market power at their core?
  • How do new proposed designations of firms, such as gatekeepers or bottlenecks, relate to established concepts of market power? Why are they needed, and what do they imply for the relevance of the concept of market power in digital markets?
  • How will new concepts and legislative definitions related to market power interact with existing enforcement frameworks?

The discussion explored:

  • how agencies are assessing market power in the digital economy, including how they approach concepts like network effects or multi-homing
  • some new approaches and alternatives to market power as a competition law concept
  • new digital sector regulations and their relationships to traditional market power.

All related documentation are available on this page. 

See the full list of best practice roundtables on competition.

Invited Speakers

Herbert Hovenkamp Bio  
Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Orla Lynskey Bio 
Associate Professor, LSE and Visiting Professor, College of Europe

John Mark Newman Bio  
Deputy Director of the FTC Bureau of Competition

Alexandre de Streel Bio  
Professor, University of Namur and CERRE

Masako Wakui Bio 
Professor, Kyoto University




OECD Background note Version française

Detailed Summary of the discussion EN | FR

Executive Summary with key findings EN | FR

Expert papers

On Market Power and Economic Dependence by Masako Wakui l Watch also her presentation

Gatekeeper Power in the Digital Economy: An Emerging Concept in EU Law by Alexandre de Streel 

Contributions from delegations

Summaries of contributions















Chinese Taipei

United Kingdom


Videos and presentations


Masako Wakui on Market Power in the Digital Economy and Competition Policy

Orla Lynskey

Herbert Hovenkamp

John Mark Newman

Alexandre de Streel

OECD Secretariat

Masako Wakui

Related best practice roundtables

Ex Ante regulation and competition in digital markets (2021)

Competition issues in news media and digital platforms (2021)

Methodologies to measure market competition (2021)

Competition Economics of Digital Ecosystems (2020)

Abuse of dominance in digital markets (2020)

Conglomerate effects of mergers (2020)

Vertical mergers in the technology, media and telecom sector (2019)

Quality considerations in the zero-price economy (2018) 

See also

OECD Handbook on Competition in the Digital Age

OECD best practice roundtables on competition

More OECD work on competition


Related Documents