Program and lecture presentations

All lectures include 15 min of discussion and 15 min of Q&A

CET time

9:30 – 11:00
Lecture: Artificial Intelligence, Algorithmic Pricing, and Collusion by Emilio CalvanoProfessor, University of Bologna and Associate Faculty Member, TSE 
[Paper 1] [Paper 2

The prices we pay for goods and services are increasingly set by algorithms powered by Artificial Intelligence. But how do these tools work? In this lecture we will briefly introduce the framework of Reinforcement Learning and apply it to the task of pricing goods and products in strategic and non strategic contexts. We will then present recent evidence gathered in synthetic market environments if AI pricing leads to supracompetitive pricing. Finally, we will linger on the policy debate trying to figure out solutions to the issue of algorithmic collusion. 

Discussant: Kai-Uwe Kühn, Professor, University of East Anglia and Academic Advisor, Brattle


11:00 - 11:15 Break


11:15 – 12:45
Lecture: Algorithmic Pricing and Competition: Empirical Evidence by  Daniel Ershov, Professor, TSE

Despite policy concerns and synthetic market experiments showing that algorithmic pricing (AP) can soften competition, thus far there has been no systematic empirical evidence of such effects in real markets. This lecture will present the first such evidence, using comprehensive pricing data from German gasoline retailers. We will discuss the challenges of measuring the adoption of AP, identifying the causal effects of adoption on market outcomes, and isolating the effects of AP on competition and their mechanisms. Finally we will touch on potential implications for competition policy.

Discussant: Vilen Lipatov, Associate Principal, E. CA Economics



12:45 – 13:30 Lunch break


13:30 - 15:00
Lecture:  Platform Design and Algorithmic Pricing by Andrew Rhodes, Professor, TSE 

Sellers in online marketplaces are increasingly using algorithms to set their prices, and both academics and policymakers have raised the concern that this could lead to supracompetitive pricing. At the same time, there is growing recognition that platforms are like regulators that design the "rules of the game" governing seller interactions. We will present results---based on both economic theory and experiments in synthetic market environments---showing how simple design rules can be used to steer algorithms away from supracompetitive outcomes.

Discussant: Helen Ralston, Partner, Oxera


15:00 – 15:15 Break


15:15 – 17:15
Policy session : AI and Competition Agencies: A Coming Transformation of Policy Making?
Moderator: William Kovacic, Professor, George Washington University & King’s College London

Kate Brand, Director of Data Science, Competition and Markets Authority [Report*]

Carsten Grave, Partner, Linklaters

Ioannis Lianos, President, Hellenic Competition Commission [Report*]

Ana Sofia Rodrigues, Chief Economist, Portuguese Competition Authority [Report*]

Katrin Schallenberg, Partner, Clifford Chance

Ingrid Vandenborre, Partner, Skadden

Sebastian Wismer, Head of the Digital Economy Unit, Bundeskartellamt [Report*]

* For further reading refer to the reports



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