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One share, one vote? Golden shares in privatised companies

Shareholder rights are a matter for corporate governance, providing checks and balances so that company management is subject to proper oversight. Among the impediments to shareholders playing an effective role as owners are special control rights, or ‘golden shares’, retained by governments in privatised companies. What are these impediments, and how important are they?

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Watching 3G: sector inquiries by the European Commission

In June, the European Commission launched sector competition inquiries into financial services and energy. The first such inquiry since modernisation relates to sports services over 3G mobile telephony networks. The methodology and preliminary results of that inquiry were recently made public, and contain some relevant lessons for future inquiries

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One size fits all? Cost allocation in postal services

Regulators face difficult challenges in allocating indirect costs such as overheads and network costs. One method of doing so, equi-proportionate mark-up, has recently been adopted in the telecoms sector. Based on this precedent, Postcomm, the UK postal services regulator, has concluded that it is also appropriate for the postal sector. Is this the case?

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Pricing signals at airports: implications for airlines and the environment

As the demand for flights continues to grow, there is increasing concern about congestion at airports and the noise and emissions produced by aircraft. Airport charges can play a key role in ensuring that existing infrastructure is used efficiently, and in encouraging airlines to use quieter and less-polluting planes.

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Financing the water industry: lessons from PR 04

The 2004 water industry price control review, and the parallel review in the electricity distribution industry, tackled important issues that are relevant for the future of utility regulation in the UK in these sectors and more widely. Keith Palmer, NM Rothschild & Son and Cambridge Economic Policy Associates, and Hannah Nixon, Cambridge Economic Policy Associates, discuss the lessons that can be learnt.

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Over-indebtedness: what’s new?

Since the publication in 2004 of Oxera’s study on over-indebtedness in the UK, consumer borrowing has continued to rise, passing the £1 trillion threshold, and the level of household debt continues to make the headlines. Yet the latest data does not suggest that current levels of indebtedness are unsustainable. What are the recent trends in indebtedness and what progress have the government and the banking community made in this area in the past year?

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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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