ISP and Tap@Yale to Host Big Tech and Antitrust Conference


Seven of the ten largest companies globally are technology giants, and many scholars, lawmakers, and the public at large have articulated concerns that Big Tech has become too big. Many critics have called for a revival of stricter antitrust enforcement, more assertive antitrust authorities, and a general rebalancing of economic power. These new policy proposals challenge long-standing assumptions in antitrust and competition law and may also threaten existing business models.

To this end, the Information Society Project (ISP) and the Thurman Arnold Project (TAP @ Yale) will host a conference at Yale Law School, “Big Tech & Antitrust: Competition Policy in the Digital Age,” on March 28-29, 2020.

The conference will bring together experts from different disciplines to explore the role of antitrust and competition law in the future of the digital economy. The conference aims:

  • to advance regulatory theory in the area of antitrust and competition law;
  • to develop scholarship about the kinds of harms antitrust and competition law need to address in the digital age;
  • to respond to student interest in and requests for law and technology programming, especially at the intersection of Big Tech, privacy, innovation, and inequality.

This conference will explore the role of antitrust and competition law in shaping the future of the digital economy. It will also discuss what kinds of harms antitrust law needs to address in the digital age and how they can be specified and measured. It seeks to consider the relationship between antitrust law and broader concerns — including privacy, innovation, and inequality. Finally, the conference will consider policy recommendations, including changes in the interpretation of antitrust laws and doctrines, enforcement practices, and the institutional organization of agencies. Discussions will span all academic disciplines, focusing on the following topics:

  • Fundamental Questions of Antitrust and Competition Policy
  • Market Structure
  • Market Power
  • Harm
  • Enforcement Actions
  • Mergers
  • Institutional Design

The Information Society Project (ISP) is an intellectual center at Yale Law School, founded in 1997 by Professor Jack Balkin. The ISP explores issues at the intersection of law, technology, and society. It supports an international community of interdisciplinary scholars work to illuminate the complex relationships between law, technology, and society. The ISP produces scholarship, convenes legal experts, and hosts events to foster the cross-pollination of ideas and spark new collaborations.

The Thurman Arnold Project (TAP @ Yale) launched in fall 2019 in response to the growing interest in competition enforcement by scholars, students, and the general public. The project is named in honor of Thurman Arnold, Yale Law Professor and head of the Antitrust Division from 1938-43, to capture the intellectual and enforcement tradition he represented, as well as his zeal for achieving competitive markets for the people of the United States. The project was founded by Professor Fiona Scott Morton, an economist at the School of Management, and is designed to bring together Yale scholars and students who are interested in antitrust to engage with one another and create rigorous antitrust research and policy, disseminate it, and enable links to enforcement and regulatory policy.