New kid (needed) on the block? Vertical Block Exemption Regulation in the digital age

The recent rise of ecommerce has triggered debate around vertical agreements between suppliers and distributors/retailers. Against this backdrop, is the European Commission’s current Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) still fit for purpose, or should it be revised? Do its Guidelines on Vertical Restraints (VGL) also need to change? Drawing on Oxera’s response to the Commission’s 2019 consultation, we discuss a few areas where revision and further guidance might be welcome

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Which direction is the FCA walking on prices?

Yesterday, the FCA published the terms of reference for the forthcoming general insurance market study; a thematic review of the home insurance supervisory programme; and a discussion paper on fair pricing in financial services. Who is affected? The market study will...

Hide and seek: the effective use of cartel screens

Hardcore cartels seek to increase profits at the expense of their consumers by deviating from competitive behaviour, while avoiding detection and punishment. Econometric screens, if designed well, can be a useful tool in detecting such deviations from competitive patterns, and can thereby help to improve cartel enforcement. Moreover, they can reduce the extent to which cartels are able to covertly restrict competition

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Aussie rules: the Oxera Trading and Post-trading Monitor

Over the past two decades, the competitive structures of stock markets across the world have undergone considerable change. In many new markets, new trading platforms compete with national stock exchanges, and in most European markets investors and traders can choose from several competing central counterparties (CCPs) for the clearing of equity transactions. Oxera has updated its analysis of the costs of trading and post-trading services, with a focus on Australia

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The EU draft Damages Actions Directive: another rebuttable presumption to rebut?

In June 2013 the European Commission made another push towards promoting private actions for damages under competition law, through the publication of a ‘Practical Guide’ on quantifying damages and a draft Directive. The latter includes a new rebuttable presumption that a cartel has caused harm, citing economic evidence in support. Does this make sense from an economic and policy perspective?

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Price pressure analysis in UK merger control: a retrospective

On April 1st 2014 the successor authority to the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Competition Commission, the Competition and Markets Authority, takes up the reins of UK merger control (among other responsibilities). 2014 also marks a decade of the use of price pressure analysis by the UK authorities in their scrutiny of mergers. In view of these landmarks, OFT Chief Economist Chris Walters takes stock of the use of these techniques over the last ten years.

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Behavioural economics and its impact on competition policy: a practical assessment

The rise of behavioural economics has caused much debate in academia and among policy-makers. A new study for the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets explores the implications for competition policy. Although there is no need for major rewrites of competition law and economics textbooks, behavioural economics will form an important part of the competition policy toolkit, and will be relevant in a small but significant number of competition cases.

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Squeezed and damaged: follow-on damages actions in margin squeeze cases

In recent years, European competition authorities and courts have ruled on a number of margin squeeze cases. In some of these, the victims of abuse (usually competitors in the downstream market) have brought follow-on damages claims. This topic is covered in the European Commission’s new practical guide on quantifying damages. What are the economic questions surrounding the quantification of damages from margin squeezes?

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Expand or die? Competition law and export pricing of commodities

In a market for commodities where local production competes against foreign imports, what would one expect the ‘competitive’ price to be? While the answer depends on several factors, the simple example of a mine/factory demonstrates that deviations from the predicted theoretical competitive market outcome do not necessarily indicate an abuse of market power.

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