Wishful thinking? Bus franchising and the Tyne and Wear QCS

The UK Transport Act 2000 gave GB local authorities the power to move to a franchised bus network under a quality contract scheme (QCS). The North East Combined Authority (NECA) has looked to use this power, with two (separate) Oxera teams providing advice to bus operators, Stagecoach and Arriva, on the economics of the proposal throughout its development. This article reflects on the experience in light of the current bus policy debate, with next year’s Buses Bill set to include bus franchising powers as part of the government’s devolution agenda

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UK productivity and the diffusion machine

In the UK—and several other major economies—productivity growth has fallen below its long-term trend. One likely culprit is an increasing gap between the most productive firms and the rest. Patrick Nolan, Principal Advisor, New Zealand Productivity Commission, discusses whether the problem is a slowing of the pace at which innovation spreads throughout the economy or, as the OECD puts it, a ‘breakdown of the diffusion machine’. He also asks how the diffusion of innovation might be encouraged

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The ‘damage to the economy’ test under French competition law: opportunity or burden?

The French competition authority, Autorité de la Concurrence, has published a study (‘the Study’) about a requirement in French competition law for the effects of an anticompetitive practice to be taken into account in the determination of fines. This legal provision differs from European competition law, as it promotes an effects-based approach to fines. The requirement could be a useful tool for ensuring that punishments are proportionate, but is the Authority making the most of it?

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Helping to analyse consumer decisions: Deaton’s AIDS model in market analysis

On 12 October 2015, Angus Deaton was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences ‘for his analysis of consumption, poverty and welfare’. Deaton’s unique contribution lies in his argument that welfare-promoting, poverty-reducing economic policy must begin with individual consumption choices. His Almost Ideal Demand System (AIDS) model, which monitors aggregated consumer behaviour to assess market demand, has influenced both academia and policymakers

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