Agenda

Oxera’s monthly online publication
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as it applies to business, law and regulation.

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A promise of protection: a behavioural experiment into pension decisions

How does the presence of consumer protection affect decisions at retirement? Oxera undertook a behavioural experiment for the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) to understand the role of FSCS protection—in both how consumers select their retirement income products, and whether they choose to obtain financial advice. This revealed how people behave in a realistic environment, providing insight into actual consumer behaviour and the importance of the FSCS in their decision-making


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By object or by effect: revisiting pharmaceutical patent settlements after paroxetine

Are patent settlement agreements in the pharmaceutical sector an infringement of competition law by object? Could they be an infringement by effect? The March 2018 judgment of the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) on the paroxetine case, which referred these key questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), sheds some light on the matter. What can we learn about both the judgment and the questions in light of the growing economic literature on patent settlements?


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How best to create an enduring framework for investment in world-class broadband connectivity in the UK?

The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is investigating ‘what longer term changes could be made to market structures and policy frameworks to encourage investment’, and is aiming to reach initial conclusions in the summer. In the spirit of open and constructive debate, Emily Clark, Chief Economist at BT Group, sets out BT’s emerging thinking on what UK policymakers can do to support investment in ultrafast broadband networks across the UK


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Legitimacy and renationalisation: where next for utility regulation?

UK regulated utilities are facing the tightest scrutiny that they have experienced in years. A tit-for-tat battle between the two main political parties in proposing changes to address public concerns has culminated in the Labour Party proposing renationalisation and the Conservative Party greater regulatory supervision. So what is the regulatory outlook for customers, companies and their investors in the context of the renationalisation agenda and other recent developments?


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Regulatory appeals: do the UK’s appeal regimes stand up to critical review?

In the UK, complex decisions by economic regulators for their respective sectors are reviewed and appealed according to bespoke regimes, and decided by specialist bodies such as the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Dr Gavin Knott, Director (remedies, business and financial analysis) at the CMA, looks at the current appeal regimes and how they might develop in future


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The Google case: shop till you drop (off the screen)

In 2017 the European Commission imposed a record €2.4bn fine on Google for abusing its dominant position in online search by giving preferential treatment to its own comparison shopping service. Such complex cases of leveraging of market power also arise in other digital markets, and raise several questions. How should competition authorities weigh benefits to consumers against harm to competition and competitors? How can competition concerns be remedied without affecting incentives to innovate?


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Quid pro quo? What factors influence IPO allocations to investors?

Investment banks face potential conflicts of interest when conducting initial public offerings (IPOs) of shares, as they provide services for both issuing firms and buy-side investors. Tim Jenkinson and Howard Jones of the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, and Felix Suntheim of the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), use data gathered as part of the FCA’s market study into investment and corporate banking to shed light on the extent to which conflicts of interest drive allocation decisions


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Regulating oligopolies in telecoms: the new European Commission guidelines

In February 2018 the European Commission published draft guidelines on determining significant market power (SMP) in electronic communications markets. This is one of several policy developments in the regulation of these markets, which are increasingly oligopolistic rather than monopolistic. What are some of the new (and old) issues raised by these developments?


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The X factor: what is the productivity target for German gas utilities?

The German federal network agency (Bundesnetzagentur, BNetzA) has determined the preliminary productivity factor X (Xgen) for gas networks in Germany—as in RPI - X (or CPI - X). The Xgen ensures that gains from technological progress and changes in input prices are passed on to final network customers via lower prices for network services. How was the Xgen determined? Why does it matter? And what lessons can be drawn?


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How did cats get the cream of the Internet?

Cat videos have won the Internet—Grumpy Cat, Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat fill our social media feeds. Why do people create these videos? What motivates them, and how does the cat video market work? Equally, why do we watch videos of cats rather than watching perceived higher-quality content such as opera or learning a language online?


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