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Fair ground: a practical framework for assessing fairness

Regulators are increasingly looking to firms to ensure that their practices are ‘fair’ in terms of the process followed (e.g. the type of data used) and the outcomes delivered (e.g. which consumers pay more). So, how can boards and senior managers satisfy themselves that practices are indeed fair and in line with their firm’s principles and risk appetite? We present Oxera’s practical framework, which has been used as a tool by senior decision-makers in financial services firms

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Stock-ing up: the design of equity trading markets in Europe

Equity markets, where investors buy and sell shares, are crucial to the European economy. Regulatory change has opened up competition, leading to more choice and lower trading fees, but also fragmentation and risks to price formation. There is an ongoing debate about the provision of market data services that often overlooks the links between market data services, trading and price formation. How is equity trading functioning from a market design and an end-investor perspective?

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A challenging initial assessment for the water companies in England and Wales

On 31 January, Ofwat published its Initial Assessment of Plans as part of the current water sector price control review in England & Wales. Ofwat categorised three companies’ business plans as ‘fast track’, meaning their proposals over 2020–25 are ready to implement. Four companies’ plans were categorised as needing significant scrutiny and substantial rework, and the remaining companies’ plans were categorised as ‘slow track’, needing to undertake further work on their plans. What are the cost-efficiency and finance aspects of this initial assessment?

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Death of an old star…evolution of a new one?

‘Superstar firms’ are increasingly dominating markets. Network effects may consolidate the position of these firms, but they can also help new entrants to undermine them. In some markets, network effects will both dampen competition ‘within’ the market and spur competition ‘for’ the market. Francesca Arduini, Oxera Analyst, argues that we can employ the framework of evolutionary game theory to derive four key policy insights into this topic

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Dealing with digital dominance: insights from Germany

The German government is looking at how competition law can better address abuse of dominance in digital markets. As part of this, an academic study has recommended giving authorities powers to intervene earlier and in additional settings where large platforms or valuable datasets are involved. How can these proposed reforms improve market outcomes while limiting the scope for unintended consequences?

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Increased market power: a global problem that needs solving?

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

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Competition between airports in Europe soars… but where next for regulation?

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?

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Why we need to consider holistic consumer outcomes

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

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Gender, competition policy and the grossly undervalued domestic product (GUDP)

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

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