Pass it on: the draft EU guidelines on pass-on and volume effects

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?

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The threat of common ownership: real or imagined?

Common ownership—the simultaneous ownership of equity of two competing companies by the same investor—has been rising steadily. This trend has been largely triggered by increasing institutional investor participation, including index funds owned by asset managers such as Vanguard and BlackRock. However, as highlighted by Oxera Partner, Professor Julian Franks, and Oxera Associate, Professor Vikrant Vig, the rise has been accompanied by an important debate on the potential anticompetitive effects of common ownership

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Funda-mentals of Article 102: a dominant platform, but no abuse

In March 2018 the Court of Amsterdam issued a verdict in a long-running abuse of dominance case involving funda, the largest property website in the Netherlands. The Court found funda to be dominant, but did not consider the company’s discriminatory listing of rival estate agents to be distortive of competition. Dr Gunnar Niels, Partner at Oxera and court expert in the case, describes how this makes for an interesting comparison with Google Shopping and other competition cases involving online platforms

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Nuclear in the UK’s energy mix? The core question

Choosing the right energy mix is a hot topic for many countries around the world. In the UK, for example, the government appears committed to supporting new nuclear capacity; however, sceptics point to the declining cost of renewables as a reason why this commitment may be misplaced. What is the economic case for new nuclear capacity, given the objectives of security of supply, affordability, and decarbonisation?

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AT&T–Time Warner: ‘Humans and Econs’ in merger assessment

In June 2018, the US District Court issued its decision to clear the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner, following an in-depth investigation and subsequent lawsuit by the Department of Justice (DOJ)—making this the first vertical merger to go to trial in the USA in 40 years. Oxera Partner, Maurice De Valois Turk, discusses the economics underlying the DOJ’s main theory of harm and why did it not convince the court

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No Withdrawal Agreement? What happens next?

During October 2018, the UK and the EU are hoping to have agreed 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?

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Consumer data in online markets

Businesses increasingly use consumer data to offer better and more targeted digital products and services. Many of these new business models rely on data to facilitate transactions and generate revenues in a way that was not previously possible. Access to personal data has understandably raised concerns about privacy. Based on a study commissioned by Which?, we investigate the delicate balance between privacy and the value of digital services

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Putting the genie back in the bottle—deposit return schemes on plastics

In March 2018 the UK government announced a plan to introduce a deposit return scheme for plastic, glass and metal drinks containers in England. Aimed at curbing pollution by stimulating recycling, the scheme will be consulted on later this year, and will bring England into line with many other EU countries that already have such schemes. From a traditional and a behavioural economics perspective, what conditions are necessary in order for these schemes to achieve the intended policy objectives?

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The Heathrow third runway: what next?

Given the approval of the UK government’s National Airports Policy Statement on 5 June 2018, observers may think that the last remaining major obstacles have been removed and the bulldozers are ready to roll in to clear the site for the third runway at Heathrow. But in truth, as Mike Toms, Oxera Director, explains, there are still many hoops to jump through before the project gets off the ground

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Sharing too much? Information exchange in the digital economy

Is an excess of information hurting competition? Although there are some well-established, economically founded principles for assessing the exchange of information between competitors, the general increase in information availability in the digital economy presents new challenges. We revisit the economic principles that can be used to understand the likely effects, both beneficial and malign, of information sharing, and how competition authorities could react to these trends

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