Nicolas Petit


Nicolas Petit was a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. Petit holds the Chair in competition law at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) and is a visiting professor at the College of Europe (Bruges, Belgium).

In 2017 he received the Global Competition Review (GCR) award for academic excellence. In 2013 he was awarded the prize for the best law book at the French Supreme Court. Petit belongs to the top fifty law authors on the research repository His papers are regularly cited in court.

Petit’s current research focuses on three areas: antitrust and digital economy firms, patent protection as an engine of innovation, and law creation in a context of technological evolution. His recent written work deals with the limits of antitrust economics in relation to technology giants and the legal frictions created by the introduction of artificial intelligence in society.

Petit has been a research fellow at Harvard Law School. He received an MA in Law from the Pantheon-Assas University in Paris (II) and an LL.M from the College of Europe in Bruges. He completed his PhD at the University of Liege. He practiced law with a leading US law firm in Brussels and also served as a clerk at the Commercial Chamber of the French Supreme Court.

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Recent Commentary

In the News

Big Tech, Market Tipping And Market Definition

mentioning Nicolas Petitvia Concurrences
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Concurrences, in partnership with Cleary Gottlieb, Compass Lexecon, Facebook and Orrick , is pleased to invite you to its next Law & Economics webinar.

Analysis and Commentary

COVID-19 Response Will End All The Big Tech Bashing

by Nicolas Petit, Richard Sousavia San Jose Mercury News
Thursday, April 9, 2020

The world is learning that technology firms are responsive, consumer-centric, dynamic organizations.

Analysis and Commentary

'Privacy Absolutism' Masks How Consumers Actually Value Their Data

by Bowman Heiden, Nicolas Petitvia The Hill
Thursday, December 12, 2019

Ethical scandals in the tech industry seem to follow each other like night and day. Last month, a federal inquiry was opened regarding Google’s program to collect and analyze patient data in collaboration with health care providers, known as Project Nightingale. 

Antitrust & Big Tech

interview with Nicolas Petit
Monday, June 10, 2019

A conversation about the history of antitrust law, the consumer welfare standard, and the tech giants.

Are “Fangs” Monopolies? A Theory of Disequilibrium Competition With Uncertainty

by Nicolas Petitvia IP2 Working Paper Series
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

This paper lays down the rudiments of a descriptive theory of competition among the digital tech platforms known as “FANGs” (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google), amidst rising academic and policy polarization over the answer to what seems to be – at least at the formulation level – a simple question: are FANGs monopolies?


Hoover IP2 To Convene Conference On Fourth Industrial Revolution In Brussels

quoting Stephen Haber, Richard Sousa, Nicolas Petit, Alexander Galetovicvia Hoover IP2
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Fourth Industrial Revolution—the fusion of digital technologies, characterized by big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, smartphones, and autonomous vehicles—will affect how people work, communicate, and travel. Hoover IP² has organized a conference, “Institutions and Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” that addresses a core public policy question: What institutions, policies, rules, and regulations will maximize individual benefits and economic surplus as the Fourth Industrial Revolution takes root?

American tech giants are fiercely competitive monopolies

by Nicolas Petitvia ESB
Tuesday, January 8, 2019

In virtually every country, antitrust agencies and regulators characterize US tech giants as monopolists. The press now refers to them as ‘big tech’, the ‘frightful 5’, or FAANGs (for Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google). Do they deserve to be vilified as monopolists regulated like public utilities or even broken up?

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You Could Google It

by Richard Sousa, Nicolas Petitvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 29, 2018
Economic analysis makes it clear: the efforts to break up big tech companies just don’t compute.

Five questions for antitrust expert Nicolas Petit on Silicon Valley’s mega-companies

by Nicolas Petit
Thursday, September 13, 2018

The denizens of Silicon Valley (and Seattle) have picked up a slew of nicknames: GAFA (for Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon); FAANG (add Netflix in there); or, most ominously, the Frightful Five (sub out Netflix, sub in Microsoft). The central charge is these firms are monopolizing their respective markets, and have achieved such dominance that their market positions are now unchallengable. The side effects may include dampened innovation, reduced labor power, and any number of democracy-is-in-peril concerns.

Analysis and Commentary

The Misguided Assault On The Consumer Welfare Standard In The Age Of Platform Markets

by A. Douglas Melamed, Nicolas Petitvia SSRN
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

This paper discusses the recent scholarly and policy attack against the consumer welfare (“CW”) standard. It shows that the CW standard is not the explanatory factor for perceived low levels of antitrust enforcement in the US. The arguments made against the CW standard reflect a misunderstanding of its purpose and effects. Moreover, any deviation from the CW framework would likely weaken antitrust enforcement in the platform age.