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Cities in crisis? How the UK Bus Services Act can improve health and the economy

Across the UK, large towns and cities are suffering from deteriorating air quality and chronic levels of traffic congestion, which affect public health as well as the economy. Robert Montgomery, former Managing Director of UK Bus at Stagecoach Group plc, and Matthew Shepherd, Oxera, explore how public transport can provide a solution to these problems, and consider the role of bus partnerships


Goodbye tension, hello pension! Metrics to help consumers choose the best deals

In July 2017, Oxera and CESS published the results of an experiment to identify the effectiveness of different summary cost metrics (information about total costs) in aiding consumer selection of income drawdown pension products. The study, commissioned by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), shines some light on how consumers respond to cost metrics and how, in this case, simplicity is not necessarily the most effective approach


Brexit: the implications for UK ports

What are the implications for ports and logistics companies of different scenarios for the future EU–UK customs agreements? Oxera Partner, Andrew Meaney, highlights the urgent need for a policy framework within which industry and civil services can develop solutions that fit both EU- and UK-based importers and exporters of goods


Excessive pricing: excessively ignored in competition law?

Competition authorities have historically pursued very few cases against excessive pricing. This seems to be changing. In the past 12 months, the rules on abuse of dominance have been invoked to tackle high prices in a range of markets, including pharmaceuticals, musical works, and patents. Together with increased political calls for fairness to consumers, does this mean a revival of excessive pricing in competition law?


Hidden talent: the economic benefits of social mobility

Social mobility: social justice or economic imperative? Even modest increases in social mobility in the UK could yield significant improvements in productivity, according to pro-bono research conducted by Oxera on behalf of the Sutton Trust. Our findings on the impact of social mobility on productivity are set out here 


EU Directive on antitrust damages: paradise lost for cartels in Belgium?

The 2014 EU Directive on Private Enforcement aims to make it easier for parties affected by antitrust breaches to demonstrate the harm suffered. The Directive required member states to implement the new enforcement regime by the end of 2016 and on 12 June 2017 Belgium transposed it into Belgian law. Dr Christian Huveneers, Assessor at the Belgian Competition Authority and Oxera Associate, discusses the implications


The Labour Party manifesto proposals on renationalisation: a personal comment from Mike Toms

The UK Labour Party’s 2017 manifesto contains a proposal to renationalise some of the UK’s largest networks—electricity, gas, rail and post. Mike Toms, Non-Executive Director of Oxera, shares his reflections on this policy, which has risen in significance due to the recent growth in support for the Party


When algorithms set prices: winners and losers

The digital revolution has led to a significant growth in companies’ ability to capture, store and analyse data about their customers, competitors and the wider world. Increasingly, companies are using this information to develop algorithms that set prices for them. But how might the automation of pricing through algorithms affect competitive outcomes in markets, and result in different consumers being charged different amounts for the same good or service?


Parity agreements and theories of harm in the hotel booking sector: a ‘no-show’?

On 6 April 2017, the European Commission and ten national competition authorities published a joint report on the online hotel booking sector. The report’s primary focus was the impact on prices and commission rates of the removal of parity or ‘most-favoured-nation’ (MFN) clauses in European countries. The results were not as conclusive as some economists and lawyers expected. Why might this be, and what’s next for MFN clauses?


Brexit: implications for the banking sector

The ease of international transfers is a central element of the EU banking system. So how is the UK’s forthcoming exit from the EU likely to affect investors, employees and customers of banks? Oxera Partner, Dr Luis Correia da Silva, looks at the areas that are likely to be affected and the scale of the impact

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