Supermarket price wars: is government intervention needed?

Following the debate over the fierce price war between supermarkets in the Netherlands, the Dutch government has announced its decision not to introduce a rule that would prevent retailers from selling below the purchase price. Several other European countries do have such a rule in place. This article explores the economic effects of minimum price rules and discusses the existing empirical evidence, including a study by Oxera.

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Bankruptcy codes: how do they affect business?

Julian Franks, Professor of Finance, London Business School, and Oxera Director, explains how recent research into bankruptcy codes reveals significant and sometimes unexpected differences between bankruptcy procedures in the UK and those of other countries.

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Water mergers: what are the prospects going forward?

Historically, the merger regime in the England and Wales water sector has restricted merger activity in order to protect comparative competition. However, recent developments suggest that comparative competition in water is now less important than it once was. Mergers are therefore more likely to be facilitated in future.

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Future secure? Why asset managers locate in London

The UK is the largest centre for asset management in Europe, with assets of at least £2.8 trillion under management, and the industry is a major source of income and employment in the UK economy. A recent Oxera study has examined the competitive position of the UK as a centre for asset management, and the major influences, including regulation and tax, which may affect this position in the future.

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Consumer responses: how quick are they?

Ignoring the potential delayed reactions of consumers when thinking about investment, pricing, or competition cases, or when evaluating changes in consumer behaviour, could lead to biased policy conclusions. This article highlights these limitations and presents ways in which they may be overcome. It also discusses implications for undertaking future modelling exercises.

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Reform of Article 82: where the link between dominance and effects breaks down

The reform of Article 82 is high on the EU competition policy agenda. Many commentators are of the view that abuse of dominance cases should move away from the current form-based approach to an effects-based approach. This article explores one of the fundamental shortcomings of the current approach—the use of dominance determinations as a shortcut to infer anti-competitive effects.

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Profitability analysis and competition policy

Professor Paul Geroski, Chairman of the UK Competition Commission, explains why profitability analysis is of importance to competition policy. He discusses various applications of what is, in essence, backward-looking profitability analysis to mergers and market investigations, and then explores the scope for using forward-looking profitability analysis in merger investigations.

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Plugging the carbon productivity gap

Productivity trends are used to explain the changing structure of the economy and to compare the UK’s performance against its peers. When the same concept is applied to energy, and ultimately to carbon, it becomes a clear measure of progress towards achieving long-term greenhouse gas emission targets. The results for the UK electricity sector suggest that, if the government’s existing targets are to be met, the current policy programme will have to be expanded during the next 10–15 years, at a cost of several billions.

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Financing investment: can regulation adapt to new challenges?

Water, electricity and transport networks in the UK are facing substantial investment requirements relative to historical levels, reflecting the need to replace ageing infrastructure, and meet environmental obligations and demand for new capacity. While the regulatory regime has to date enabled substantial investment to be delivered, growing pressure on balance sheets as companies issue debt to finance this expenditure raises questions about whether the framework will prove sustainable in the future. This article examines options for change to address this challenge.

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