Ofgem’s Procrustean bed

As part of its retail market review, Ofgem, the energy regulator for Great Britain, has proposed to limit the number of standard energy tariffs available and to set the standing charge itself. Stephen Littlechild, Emeritus Professor, University of Birmingham, and Fellow, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, examines whether these proposals will help consumers in practice.

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Not in my kitchen: the economics of HS2

HS2, a high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham, has been given approval by the UK Secretary of State for Transport, despite ongoing debate about the value for money (VfM) of the project. Why might one go ahead with a project that appears to have lower VfM than that of strategic alternatives? What further evidence would make the case more compelling?

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No smoke without fire? The Tobacco appeals

In 2010 the UK Office of Fair Trading fined two tobacco manufacturers and a number of major UK retailers for anti-competitive agreements relating to the retail prices of cigarettes. One manufacturer and five retailers appealed against the OFT’s Decision. In December 2011 they won their case. What was the economic theory of harm at the heart of the case, and why did the Competition Appeal Tribunal rule against the OFT?

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What’s wrong with directors’ pay?

When compared with the depressed national economic situation, it is perhaps not surprising that the large bonuses paid to directors and other executives of public companies are hotly debated in the UK press. Jonathan Hutchings, Principal at remuneration advisers New Bridge Street, examines the current state of affairs regarding executive pay and incentives in the UK. He discusses some of the reasons behind the current situation, and suggests some ways to improve the pay-setting process.

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