The idea that there has been a widespread reduction in competition across many industries has been widely discussed in recent years by academics, policymakers and the media. But what does the empirical evidence actually say, and what are potential causes and policy options? The Oxera Economics Council met to discuss this topic in November 2018
Where airports do not face effective competition, it may be necessary to introduce economic regulation to protect passengers’ interests. Regulation can help to ensure fair prices, sufficient investment, high-quality service, and efficient costs. At the same time, it is important that regulatory interventions are targeted at areas where competition will not deliver the desired outcomes. With increasing competition between airports, what tools are available to help policymakers decide whether regulation is required?
As government policy, regulation and competition law all aim to make a positive difference for consumers, it is crucial to have a common understanding of what constitutes a consumer benefit. To date, consumer outcomes have been considered mainly in terms of price, quantity, quality, innovation and choice. However, Tim Hogg, Oxera Consultant, argues that advances in technology mean that authorities should consider an additional set of holistic consumer outcomes, including relationships, fairness, truth, and privacy
Does modern economics value the work of men more than women, and if so, what can be done about it? The traditional approach to economics prioritises fee-earning work rather than unpaid housework and caring duties, which are undertaken largely by women. Sarah Long, Partner, Euclid Law, discusses the benefits of incorporating this unpaid contribution into competition law internationally
In the digital services market, platform operators compete for the attention of consumers. However, there are increasing concerns about their degree of market power, which can be difficult to assess using the traditional tools of competition and regulation. As calls for further regulation increase, authorities must ensure that their interventions do not lead to unintended consequences, such as reducing the gains that such platforms bring to society
In commercial disputes and arbitrations, the remedy for a breach of contract may involve awarding damages calculated by reference to the wrongdoer’s profits. This is referred to as negotiating damages (previously, ‘Wrotham Park’ damages), and it can be controversial.
In most countries, financial conduct regulation and competition regulation are undertaken by separate institutions. Yet there are questions about the efficacy of this arrangement, given the results seen in UK financial markets, which can sometimes favour neither consumers nor efficient and innovative firms.
During October and November 2018, the UK and the EU are hoping to agree on the basis for the UK to withdraw from the Union, with the Agreement to be ratified by EU institutions and the UK Parliament before the UK leaves on 29 March 2019. What happens if the UK leaves with no deal in place? In particular, what will be the effect on ports and trade?
On 5 July 2018 the European Commission published draft guidelines to help national courts estimate the share of overcharges ‘passed on’ to indirect purchasers and final consumers of goods affected by a cartel. The guidelines also cover estimation of volume effects, which are the natural counterpart to pass-on. How helpful are these draft guidelines, and how could they potentially be improved?