Virtual Competition
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Virtual Competition : The Promise and Perils of the Algorithm-Driven Economy

4.12 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Shoppers with Internet access and a bargain-hunting impulse can find a universe of products at their fingertips. In this thought-provoking expose, Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice Stucke invite us to take a harder look at today's app-assisted paradise of digital shopping. While consumers reap many benefits from online purchasing, the sophisticated algorithms and data-crunching that make browsing so convenient are also changing the nature of market competition, and not always for the better.Computers colluding is one danger. Although long-standing laws prevent companies from fixing prices, data-driven algorithms can now quickly monitor competitors' prices and adjust their own prices accordingly. So what is seemingly beneficial--increased price transparency--ironically can end up harming consumers. A second danger is behavioral discrimination. Here, companies track and profile consumers to get them to buy goods at the highest price they are willing to pay. The rise of super-platforms and their "frenemy" relationship with independent app developers raises a third danger. By controlling key platforms (such as the operating system of smartphones), data-driven monopolies dictate the flow of personal data and determine who gets to exploit potential buyers.Virtual Competition raises timely questions. To what extent does the "invisible hand" still hold sway? In markets continually manipulated by bots and algorithms, is competitive pricing an illusion? Can our current laws protect consumers? The changing market reality is already shifting power into the hands of the few. Ezrachi and Stucke explore the resulting risks to competition, our democratic ideals, and our economic and overall well-being.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 300 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 27.94mm | 635.03g
  • HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • 3 halftones, 3 graphs
  • 0674545478
  • 9780674545472
  • 201,213

Review quote

Equal measures computer science, law, economics, and behavioral science, this book will appeal to all four groups and introduce the concepts in a very enjoyable way. Whether people shop online, on their phones, or in stores, companies track them. What they buy, where they shop, when they shop, and how they shop can all be analyzed by retailers, who can then offer different products, coupons, and discounts. Retailers not only collect and analyze this data but also sell the data and analysis to other companies, sometimes including their competitors. This book delves into the privacy and regulatory complications of this data and analysis. Though readers may be taken aback by just how much information is collected about their shopping habits, this book describes in detail how retailers and marketers use ambivalence to privacy to market products and services at prices consumers are willing to pay.--J. M. Keller-Aschenbach"Choice" (04/01/2017)show more

About Ariel Ezrachi

Ariel Ezrachi is Slaughter and May Professor of Competition Law at the University of Oxford. Maurice E. Stucke is Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee and co-founder of The Konkurrenz Group.show more

Rating details

8 ratings
4.12 out of 5 stars
5 38% (3)
4 50% (4)
3 0% (0)
2 12% (1)
1 0% (0)
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