Engage in our events to examine the business and regulatory implications of the growing presence of digital markets.

Past Events

Telecommunications experts are sparring over net neutrality again following Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Jessica Rosenworcel’s proposal to reinstate the policy. Net neutrality mandates that internet providers treat all bits the same, and its repeal in 2017 alarmed advocates who warned the internet would no longer be fair, open, or safe. However, the internet thrived after the rollback, and US consumers experienced better broadband than did their counterparts in more regulated countries.

After years of market-based pricing for broadband, state and federal officials are considering price controls to ensure affordability. One might think that broadband is already affordable given that the industry grew faster than the US economy for 15 of the past 16 years. But officials implementing Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which provides billions for broadband expansion, are exploring price regulations for service to low-income and middle-income households. The IIJA requires special pricing for low-income households, but not for others.

Will these government officials re-create telecommunications regulation? How would regulation affect affordability? Would price regulations improve or hinder market efficiency? AEI’s Mark Jamison held a panel of experts for a discussion of how controls would affect broadband affordability and possible approaches to ensure affordability.

States are at the forefront for spending unprecedented billions of taxpayer dollars on broadband development. In 2020 and 2021 Congress allocated over $70 billion to improve broadband availability. Among political pressures to indulge favored constituents and impose market regulations, a lack of experience among many officials, and misinformation regarding lessons from the past, much can go wrong. Which states are leading the way, and how are they ensuring that taxpayers get their money’s worth? On September 29, AEI’s Mark Jamison held a discussion with a panel of experts about what states are learning and how they are course correcting.

Revisions to the Horizontal Merger Guidelines recently proposed by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have generated a spirited debate in the law and economics community about the criteria by which the antitrust agencies should decide whether to attempt to block proposed mergers. If adopted, the revisions would represent a sea change in antitrust enforcement, tightening existing standards, adding new criteria, and ultimately reducing merger activity.

On September 19, AEI hosted a two-hour symposium at which leading economists and legal experts representing a wide range of perspectives will discuss the proposed revisions, the reaction among antitrust policymakers and practitioners, and the likely path forward.

On May 25, AEI’s Mark Jamison hosted a panel discussion to evaluate the recent activity of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has taken a far greater policymaking tack compared to years previous.

The panel discussion featured former FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen, former Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, and AEI’s Adam J. White.

Ms. Ohlhausen began by recalling that the FTC wasn’t always like it is today. It formerly had a culture of consensus and a desire for bipartisanship in enforcing the law. Mr. White highlighted the FTC’s divergence from the Chevron doctrine and noted the agency’s tendency to weaponize legal uncertainty to prevent corporate mergers.

Mr. O’Rielly discussed how Congress hasn’t necessarily helped due to becoming more sensational and less committed to its institution and that close elections have had a chilling effect on relations between the administration and Congress. Reestablishing such relations would be crucial to steering independent agencies toward their actual goals. Dr. Jamison closed by making the point that regulators must carefully consider how regulation affects the perception of risk.

On May 24, AEI and DMI’s Mark Jamison hosted a panel discussion on keys to broadband program efficiency, transparency, and accountability, previewing a rubric for forthcoming work that grades states on their progress.

The panel discussion featured University of North Texas’s Janice Hauge, Pepperdine University’s James Prieger, Stanford University’s Greg Rosston, and the Technology Policy Institute’s Scott Wallsten.

Dr. Wallsten emphasized the efficiency of reverse auctions, explaining that states can get twice as much broadband per dollar using auctions instead of traditional grant systems. Dr. Prieger explained that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) previous Broadband Technology Opportunities Program provided almost no incremental broadband. He also explained that regulating broadband prices and opening networks, which NTIA recommends, will decrease investment. Dr. Rosston described why low-income individuals do not respond to price discounts. Comcast’s Internet Essentials program’s adaptability and customer focus have been more effective.

Dr. Hauge offered the tenets of the forthcoming rubric that will serve as a guide for states to implement their broadband plans. There’s a lot at stake with this much funding, but there is hope that with such guidance, the money will be spent well.

On February 1, AEI’s Mark Jamison moderated a discussion between former chairmen of the Federal Trade Commission, AEI’s Timothy J. Muris and Deborah Platt Majoras, on how the Biden administration has returned to the neo-Brandeisian tradition of antitrust policy.

Mr. Muris began by reflecting on his recently published research that analyzes the legal and intellectual path of antitrust policy and how the Biden administration’s current reversion to the framework that dominated before the 1980s hurts consumers.

Ms. Majoras expressed concern that if the FTC moves away from the consumer welfare standard that has been used for the past several decades and stops using an approach using economics, then the agency will have little grounding when enforcing antitrust policy.

She then discussed the role that the employees of large companies play in enforcing antitrust law and how this reversion to an antitrust mindset that “big is bad” will turn into greater costs for companies and, thus, higher prices for consumers.

Finally, Mr. Muris and Ms. Majoras fielded questions from the audience, particularly addressing concerns about large technology companies and Amazon. Mr. Muris emphasized that the antitrust policy should be focused on the consumer, not the competitor.

On December 7, PURC and AEI’s Mark Jamison hosted an event to discuss ensuring transparency and accountability in federal broadband initiatives, especially considering the influx of new spending Congress recently allocated for closing the digital divide. Each panelist offered a call to action.

Pepperdine University’s James Prieger argued that accountability would require rigorous quantitative analysis. For example, we could require public reporting of the average and marginal costs per location served, allowing taxpayers to see exactly how their taxes are spent.

Duke University’s Michelle Connolly agreed with Dr. Prieger that the best way to ensure accountability in these initiatives is for the selection criteria, the applications themselves, and the reporting of these applications’ outcomes to be made public.

Pew Charitable Trusts’ Anna Read challenged state and local officials to not think about federal funding streams in isolation, reminded us that program accountability doesn’t end after the program itself begins, and urged stakeholders to engage in the official mapping challenge process to ensure broadband map accuracy.

The Technology Policy Institute’s Scott Wallsten left the event with a challenge to prioritize program transparency and evaluation. Choosing between what is proprietary and what is public is crucial for maximizing the right kind of transparency.

On July 21, Commissioner Brendan Carr of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) joined AEI’s Shane Tews and Mark Jamison to discuss how the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program could be hampered by misguided priorities and cumbersome regulations. Following the discussion with Commissioner Carr, an expert panel convened.

Commissioner Carr explained that while enough money has already been dedicated to closing the digital divide, obstacles persist. Funding is scattered over several agencies and hundreds of different programs all while the US lacks an overarching national broadband strategy to ensure the effectiveness of programs like BEAD.

Duke University’s Michelle Connolly explained how the criteria for using BEAD funds disregard speed and quality of connection in favor of using unionized labor and promoting net neutrality. Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave of Vanderburgh County, Indiana, detailed how Washington’s red tape made increasing broadband adoption unnecessarily difficult.

The Technology Policy Institute’s Sarah Oh Lam explained how the aforementioned challenges are reinforced by the fact that the data and maps the FCC and government organizations use are misleading or even wrong. Dr. Jamison indicated another problem we face is deploying broadband to already well-connected communities, a phenomenon known as overbuilding.

Data portability and interoperability have often been promoted as ways to increase competition between digital platforms, but there is a debate on when and how data portability and interoperability could be implemented and how effective they would be in boosting competition and innovation.

On June 1 the Bipartisan Policy Center hosted a virtual discussion with the top thought leaders on antitrust and data privacy, including PURC and DMI Director, Mark Jamison.

What role do consumer protection rules play according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)? When are they appropriate, and what processes and procedures should be used to develop them?

On June 1, AEI’s J. Howard Beales III and Timothy J. Muris sat down with Baker Botts’s Maureen K. Ohlhausen for a panel discussion on the recent efforts for increased rulemaking power in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Ms. Ohlhausen was a welcomed guest in this discussion, having led the FTC as acting chairman and commissioner and now chairing Baker Botts’s Antitrust and Competition Law practice. PURC and AEI’s Mark Jamison moderated the event.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which became law in 2021, includes more than $65 billion in federal funding for expanding broadband access in unserved areas, addressing affordability, and strengthening network security. But now the question is: How can that money be put to best use?

On April 4, AEI’s Ajit Pai hosted an event on how states can use $65 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for broadband build-out. Watch the conversation with Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) on how states should manage the IIJA’s broadband funds and how Congress and NTIA can ensure effective oversight. An expert panel discussion followed, including PURC and DMI Director, Mark Jamison.

Broadband expansion is on the mind of every public official, broadband provider, and customer. With so many countries testing new solutions and improving traditional approaches to getting broadband into more people’s hands, it is important that we compare notes and learn from each other. What are the most economical ways to expand availability? What best helps low-income households? How should governments experiencing budget problems consider broadband as part of their economic development strategies?

We partnered with CANTO, the leading authority on ICT in the Caribbean region, to discuss these questions and more. David Cox and I compared notes on our broadband experiences in the Caribbean and in the US. David is the Chairman of CANTO and Head of Regulatory Affairs for Cable & Wireless – Caribbean, and so is the perfect person for examining the Caribbean experience.

In January, the Senate Judiciary Committee marked up and approved the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) for a main-floor vote. The AICOA would prohibit large tech firms from engaging in well-established, common business practices such as self-preferencing their own products and protecting knowledge assets. This could significantly affect the US tech sector and constrict US ingenuity and global competitiveness.

The AICOA becoming law could also have notable consequences for US antitrust policy. Historically, antitrust enforcement has relied on empirical evidence of market power and business practices harming consumers. The AICOA, however, would outlaw otherwise allowable business practices based simply on firms’ past success.

DMI and AEI’s Mark Jamison hosted an expert panel for a discussion of the AICOA’s specific provisions and potential impacts.

Jeffrey Eisenach, Nonresident Senior Fellow, AEI
Jennifer Huddleston, Policy Counsel, NetChoice
Michael Mandel, Chief Economist, Progressive Policy Institute

Mark Jamison, Nonresident Senior Fellow, AEI

Parts of the Biden administration, Federal Trade Commission, Congress, and media believe the past 40 years of consumer-oriented antirust analysis and enforcement have enabled the growth of market power and anticompetitive behavior. Members of both parties seem to newly believe that big firms are always bad, and they are advocating for less emphasis on economics in antitrust under the premise that empirical research is too burdensome and ineffective. Why is this line of thinking gaining such momentum in our governing system? What is the proper role of economic analysis in antitrust?

PURC and AEI’s Mark Jamison hosted a panel of economics experts for a discussion on the importance of economic analysis in antitrust and what pivoting to new antitrust standards would mean for companies and consumers.

Babette E. Boliek, Professor of Law, Caruso School of Law, Pepperdine University
Bruce Kobayashi, Paige V. and Henry N. Butler Chair in Law and Economics, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
Diana L. Moss, President, American Antitrust Institute
Howard Shelanski, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
David S. Sibley, J. T. Stuart Centennial Professor, University of Texas at Austin
Scott J. Wallsten, President, Technology Policy Institute

Bills targeting the business models and competitive strategies of Big Tech firms are gaining bipartisan momentum in Congress. However, the bills’ sponsors often contradict themselves, overlooking signs of healthy competition in the tech space with little regard for how their proposals would affect consumers. What are the most problematic features in these bills? And where, if at all, might Congress divert its attention for more-meaningful change in antitrust?

AEI and PURC’s Mark Jamison was joined by a panel of experts for a discussion on how Congress is poised to upend long-standing norms on antitrust and how lawmakers could act more constructively to identify and remedy weaknesses in today’s antitrust statutes.

  • Michael Kades, Director, Markets and Competition Policy, Washington Center for Equitable Growth
  • Andrea Agathoklis Murino, Partner, Antitrust and Competition, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
  • Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Chair, Global Antitrust and Competition, Baker Botts LLP
  • Nancy L. Rose, Charles P. Kindleberger Professor of Applied Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Scott J. Wallsten, President, Technology Policy Institute

UF’s Digital Markets Initiative and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service welcomed the Honorable Brendan Carr of the Federal Communications Commission. Commissioner Carr shared what the Commission is doing to accelerate 5G buildout and the importance of US leadership. A response panel of experts followed his presentation to discuss what’s at stake for Florida.

In his role as an FCC Commissioner, Carr focuses on regulatory reforms that help create jobs and grow the economy for the benefit of all Americans. He is leading the FCC’s work to modernize the infrastructure rules governing the buildout of 5G and other next-gen networks, with his reforms predicted to cut billions of dollars in red tape and having already accelerated 5G builds, helping to bring more broadband to more Americans.

Carr also works to expand America’s skilled workforce, including the tower climbers and construction crews needed to build next-gen networks, by promoting community colleges, technical schools and apprenticeships as a pipeline for good-paying 5G jobs. In addition, Carr is leading an FCC telehealth initiative, which is designed to drive down healthcare costs while improving outcomes for veterans, low-income and rural Americans.

America has spent billions of dollars to close the gap between the broadband haves and have-nots. What do we have to show for it? Very little: According to Pew Research, 20% of US households do not have broadband. Minorities are 15% less likely to have broadband in their homes than are whites, and are 75% more likely to be dependent on smartphones for internet access. COVID-19 has magnified the effects of this gap on children’s education and minorities’ abilities to make a living. What will America do?

Mignon Clyburn, a former Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, has made closing this gap a priority throughout her career. During her nine years with the FCC, Ms. Clyburn advocated for marginalized people by working to close the digital divide, modernizing programs for making broadband affordable, championing diversity in media ownership, and pressing for a free and open internet. As Congress and the Joe Biden Administration consider spending $100 billion to address digital disparities, Ms. Clyburn will explain what it will take for the US to see real results. UF’s Digital Markets Initiative and the Graham Center for Public Service welcomed Ms. Clyburn to campus to discuss these important issues and to challenge students and faculty to provide the leadership that is needed for true progress.

We partnered with the Florida Chapter of the Federal Communications Bar Association to discuss the broadband provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Topics included mapping, challenges of adoption, and what to expect from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

  • Mark Jamison, Director – UF Public Utility Research Center Digital Markets Initiative
  • Sarah Oh, Senior Fellow – The Technology Policy Institute
  • Kathryn de Wit, Project Director – Broadband Access Initiative, The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Moderator: Ron Brisé, Government Affairs Consultant – Gunster

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was designed to promote a competitive online ecosystem that maximizes user control while guarding against illegal activities. The law is credited with empowering unprecedented innovation, but it is also blamed for allowing Big Tech to suppress speech and avoid liability for seemingly unchecked misinformation.

Proposals to reform Section 230 — and views about its impact — vary. Some believe the law is a key protector of online expression, while others believe it provides cover for suppression of free speech. And some seek to expand Big Tech’s responsibility to limit what can be said on social media.

PURC and DMI Director Mark Jamison hosted this American Enterprise Institute (AEI) panel discussion on proposals to reform Section 230 — and on whether the law has fulfilled its original promise.

Daniel Lyons, Visiting Fellow – AEI
Matt Perault, Director, Center on Science & Technology Policy – Duke University
Kate Tummarello, Executive Director – Engine

Does free speech apply to all corners of society, including the internet? The Constitution prohibits Congress from making any law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” and, since the 1960s, courts have interpreted this as an expansive right of individuals and institutions with few exceptions.

However, public support for free speech seems to be decreasing, especially as it pertains to social media platforms. Free speech critics support more government controls and are pressing social media platforms to censor certain ideas, opinions, and people. And sometimes, social media platforms seem happy to comply.

Mark Jamison hosted for AEI a panel discussion on laws and civil rights, commercial control of speech, and the effects of speech controls on human development and social vigor.

This event was hosted by the American Enterprise Institute.

A panel of antitrust experts discussed the implications of a House Judiciary Committee staff report and what’s at stake for the U.S. economy.

  • Thomas W. Hazlett, Macaulay Endowed Professor of Economics, Clemson University and Director, Information Economy Project, Clemson University
  • Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Chair, Global Antitrust and Competition practice, Baker Botts and former Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
  • D. Daniel Sokol, Professor of Law, Levin College of Law, University of Florida
  • Moderator: Mark A. Jamison, Visiting Scholar, AEI and Director, Digital Markets Initiative, University of Florida

This event was hosted by the American Enterprise Institute.

Panelists discussed the use of Abuse of Superior Bargaining Position (ASBP) in Japanese competition law and particularly for online markets. The panel included insights from law and economics from both academics and practitioners.

  • Reiko Aoki, Commissioner, Japan Fair Trade Commission
  • Tsuyoshi (Yoshi) Ikeda, Partner, Ikeda & Someya
  • Tadashi Shiraishi, Professor, University of Tokyo Law
  • Yasutora Watanabe, Professor, University of Tokyo Economics
  • Moderator: D. Daniel Sokol, Professor, University of Florida Levin College of Law

This event was co-sponsored by the Digital Markets Initiative (DMI) at the University of Florida and the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

Event Agenda

We invited academics and PhD students in business schools studying platforms for a panel discussion on hot topics regarding platform competition followed by virtual small table discussions with leading platform academics and former government agency senior leadership from antitrust agencies to discuss research gaps and their application to platform policy debates on competition and privacy.

We were honored to have Commissioner Christine S. Wilson of the Federal Trade Commission join us. You can read her full remarks online at the FTC website.

The event was co-sponsored by the University of Florida Digital Markets Initiative, University of Florida Competition Policy Initiative, University of Florida Department of Information Systems and Operations Management (Warrington College of Business), and University of Florida Levin College of Law.

  • May 7, 2020: Nascent Competitors
    Scott Hemphill, Moses H. Grossman Professor of Law – NYU Law
    Timothy Wu, Julius Silver Professor of Law, Science and Technology – Columbia Law School
  • May 14, 2020: Debt, Control, and Collusion
    D. Daniel Soko, Professor of Law – UF Levin College of Law
  • May 21, 2020: Efficiencies in Merger Analysis
    Louis Kaplow, Finn M.W. Caspersen and Household International Professor of Law and Economics – Harvard Law School
  • May 28, 2020: State Medical Boards and the Providers They Protect: A Self-Regulation Story in Two Parts
    Rebecca Allensworth, Tarkington Chair in Teaching Excellence Professor of Law – Vanderbilt Law School
  • June 4, 2020: Reverse Breakup Fees and Antitrust Approval
    Albert H. Choi, Professor of Law – University of Michigan Law School
    Abraham Lee Wickelgren, The Bernard J. Ward Centennial Professor in Law – University of Texas Law School
  • June 11, 2020: Antitrust and the Public Interests of Equality and the Demands of Crises – Insights from Developing Countries
    Eleanor M. Fox, Walter J. Derenberg Professor of Trade Regulation – New York University School of Law
  • June 18, 2020: The Competitive Process
    Barak Orbach, Professor of Law – University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
  • June 25, 2020: False Analogies to Predatory Pricing
    Christopher Leslie, Chancellor’s Professor of Law – UC Irvine School of Law
  • July 2, 2020: Asymmetric Stakes in Antitrust Litigation
    Erik Hovenkamp, Assistant Professor of Law – USC Gould School of Law
    Steven C. Salop, Professor of Economics & Law – Georgetown Law
  • July 9, 2020: Antitrust Antitextualism
    Daniel Crane, Frederick Paul Furth Sr. Professor of Law – Michigan Law
  • July 16, 2020: Keeping Score: Improving the Reporting of Data on Public Antitrust Enforcement
    William E. Kovacic, Global Competition Professor of Law and Policy – George Washington University Law School
  • July 23, 2020: The Per Se Rule That Wasn’t: How the Reasonable Price Defense Survived Antitrust’s Formative Era
    Alan J. Meese, Co-Director, Center for the Study of Law and Markets – William & Mary Law School
  • July 30, 2020: Vertical Joint Employers
    Hiba Hafiz, Assistant Professor – Boston College Law School
  • August 6, 2020: The Political Face of Antitrust
    Spencer Waller, Professor in Law; Justice John Paul Stevens Chair in Competition Law – Loyola University Chicago School of Law

The Fall 2019 workshop addressed major challenges for creating relevant research in digital markets and regulation: Businesses and markets are interdisciplinary, but academia is not.

Researchers examined how to overcome this problem in a daylong session co-hosted by DMI with the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law. Representing disciplines as wide ranging as law, engineering, strategy, economics, management, information systems, and finance, the faculty explored ways to increase the quantity and quality of interdisciplinary research on topics such as privacy, the political drivers of antitrust and regulation, the challenges from China, enabling and financing innovation, mergers and acquisitions, and policy spillovers from Europe and China. Insights included the importance of cross-disciplinary meetings for innovative work, organized discussions of work in progress, cross-disciplinary symposia, and publishing interdisciplinary research in law journals and in engineering journals as these are the least resistant to cross-disciplinary work.