Article Explains How Online Sellers Can Use Big Data to Personalize Prices

Mariateresa Maggiolino of Bocconi University has written Personalized Prices in European Competition Law.  Here is the abstract:

The advent of big data analysis techniques make personalized prices possible. This paper sketches a preliminary picture of this new phenomenon, first explaining how personalized prices flow from big data analysis, how personalized prices fit into the economic notion of price discrimination, how buyers perceive them, and how they affect consumer and social welfare. Then, seeking to square this new phenomenon with the existing legal framework, the article turns to the antitrust and contractual matters relevant to the quantum of personalized prices, as well as the unfair competition and privacy matters linked to the process whereby these prices are calculated and charged to consumers. The paper concludes that while personalized prices may give rise to some privacy concerns, from an antitrust perspective they very rarely harm the good functioning of the market insofar as it concerns variations in consumer welfare.

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