Disruptive innovations and their effect on competition


New technologies or business models can profoundly affect the functioning of existing industries. The most visible examples are internet-based "sharing services" that are disrupting conventional taxi and hotel markets, but there are many others in diverse areas such as finance, retail electricity and automobiles.

These disruptive innovations can deliver important benefits to competition and consumers, in terms of new and better services, and can stimulate innovation and price competition from established providers. However, they can also give rise to legitimate public policy concerns (e.g. safety, privacy) and create demands for regulation. Established providers will often lobby for existing regulations to be applied to new providers to lessen their competitive advantage, sometimes claiming rightly or wrongly that this advantage arises from an ‘unfair’ exclusion from regulatory rules.

But how far should regulation go, what role should competition policy play in these debates, and how might competition authorities participate?

In June 2015, the OECD gathered experts to discuss current challenges arising from disruptive innovations and possible areas for future work. Participants discussed the economic characteristics of industries where such innovations have appeared, the various responses of incumbents and regulators, and the possible ways in which competition authorities could intervene, with a focus on competition advocacy.




More OECD work on Competition and Digital Economy

OECD Handbook on Competition Policy in the Digital Age 


Key findings from the discussion • Points clefs de la discussion

Issues paper by the Secretariat Note de réflexion du Secrétariat

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Daniel CRANE Bio
University of Michigan, US

Fingleton Associates, UK 

Salle YOO Bio
General Counsel, Uber

Participant's contributions

United States





OECD Handbook on Competition Policy in the Digital Age 

New energy in the electricity sector - OECD Observer article, May 2017

Algorithms and collusion, 2017

Rethinking the use of traditional antitrust enforcement tools in multi-sided markets, 2017

Radical Innovation in the Electricity Sector, 2017

Big Data: Briging competition policy to the digital era, 2016

Disruptive innovation in land transport, 2016

Disruptive innovation in legal services, 2016

Disruptive innovation in financial markets, 2015

Disruptive innovation in competition law enforcement, 2015

Vertical Restraints for On-line Sales, 2013

Digital Economy, 2012

Competition Assessment Toolkit

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