Price Algorithms as a Threat to Competition Under the Conditions of Digital Economy: Approaches to Antimonopoly Legislation of BRICS Countries

Author:A. Spiridonova - E. Juchnevicius
Position:South Ural State University (Chelyabinsk, Russia) - Gdansk University (Gdansk, Poland)
Pages:94-117
BRICS LAW JOURNAL Volume VII (2020) Issue 2
PRICE ALGoRITHmS AS A THREAT To ComPETITIon
unDER THE ConDITIonS oF DIGITAL EConomy:
APPRoACHES To AnTImonoPoLy LEGISLATIon oF BRICS CounTRIES
ALENA SPIRIDONOVA,
South Ural State University (Chelyabinsk, Russia)
EDVARDAS JUCHNEVICIUS,
Gdansk University (Gdansk, Poland)
https://doi.org/10.21684/2412-2343-2020-7-2-94-117
The authors examine certain legal problems of antitrust regulation in the digital economy
facing the international community, including BRICS member countries. This article
focuses on the problems associated with the use of price algorithms by enterprises as
a threat factor to competition. The concept of “price algorithm” and the goals of its use by
enterprises are analyzed; it is concluded that the use of price algorithms is just one of the
tools for conducting economic activity. At the same time, enterprises can pose a threat
to competition by using price algorithms as an element of concluding anti-competitive
agreements (concerted actions) between enterprises and illegal coordination of their
activities. Restriction of competition through the use of price algorithms can harm
consumers of goods, works, and services and should be controlled by antitrust authorities.
Based on the analysis of the antitrust laws of the BRICS member countries, it is concluded
that currently the concept of a “pricing algorithm” is not enshrined in the laws of any of
the BRICS member states, however, there are prohibitions on anticompetitive agreements
of enterprises and illegal coordination of economic activity. We refute the need to legally
enshrine the concept of “price algorithm” in antitrust law. At the same time, it proves that
enterprises should be held accountable for the use of the price algorithm as a tool to limit
competition. The paper proves that within the framework of interstate cooperation of
the BRICS countries in the eld of competition law, it is necessary to develop common
approaches to antitrust regulation in the digital economy, including to ensure a uniform
approach to regulating and controlling the use of price algorithms by enterprises in the
framework of economic activity.
ALENA SPIRIDONOVA, EDVARDAS JUCHNEVICIUS 95
Keywords: digitalization of law; digital law; digital economy; antitrust regulation; cartel;
pricing algorithm; BRICS law; competition; law digital environments.
Recommended citation: Alena Spiridonova & Edvardas Juchnevicius, Price Algorithms
as a Threat to Competition Under the Conditions of Digital Economy: Approaches to
Antimonopoly Legislation of BRICS Countries, 7(2) BRICS Law Journal 94–117 (2020).
Table of Contents
Introduction
1. Use of Price Algorithms in the Economic Activity of Enterprises
as a Factor of Threat to Competition
2. Approach to the Regulation of the Use of Price Algorithms
by Enterprises in the Antitrust Laws of Russia
3. Approaches to Regulating the Use of Price Collusion by Enterprises
in the Antitrust Laws of China, Brazil, India, South Africa
3.1. China
3.2. Brazil
3.3. India
3.4. South Africa
4. Development of a Unied Approach to Regulating the Use
of Price Algorithms in the Framework of Interstate Cooperation
of the BRICS Countries on Competition Policy Issues
Conclusion
Introduction
Today, digital transformations are one of the main factors in the development
of the economy of any state. Digital technologies, huge databases, platforms for
their processing, and intellectual property have changed the structure of the world
market and the markets of individual states. Information technologies have entered
all spheres of life, regardless of geographical boundaries, and also have a signicant
impact on all other areas of business.
In these conditions, the government of each country is trying to investigate and
understand what the further actions of the state should be to regulate the sphere of
public relations complicated by the digital element. One of the most important areas
of state regulation of the economy is antitrust regulation, which is a set of economic,
administrative, and legisl ative measures aimed at ensuring marke t competition
and preventing excessive monopolization of the market that threatens the normal
functioning of the market mechanism.

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