Preparing for resilience: analysing and treating risk

Resilience of infrastructure is moving up the policy agenda, according to a report published this year by the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission (NIC). The NIC considers resilience to be characterised by an ability to ‘Anticipate, Resist, Absorb, Recover, Adapt and Transform’. Dr Rupert Booth, Oxera Economic Adviser, examines the first element—‘Anticipate’. He considers the role of the economist in working with executives on the analysis and treatment of risk as the first step in creating a resilience strategy

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The risks of using algorithms in business: artificial intelligence and real discrimination

Algorithms influence many aspects of our work and social lives. They affect what adverts we see, what shows we watch, and whether we get a job. As these tools become increasingly widespread, they pose new challenges to businesses. We look at concerns regarding the use of algorithms in areas where the role of computer programs and complex modelling has traditionally been limited, and consider whether AI might result in illegal discrimination

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The risks of using algorithms in business: demystifying AI

Today algorithms influence all aspects of our lives, from how much we pay for groceries and what adverts we see, to the decisions taken by health professionals. As these tools become increasingly widespread, they pose new challenges to businesses. In order to begin to ‘demystify’ algorithms and AI, we ask: what benefits and risks do they bring to the economy?

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What problems can the European Commission’s New Competition Tool fix?

On 2 June, the European Commission launched consultations on proposals for a New Competition Tool (NCT) and its Digital Services Act package. We look at the proposals for the NCT, drawing on lessons from the UK market investigations regime, and in particular the ability to use market investigations to act more quickly and effectively to remedy competition problems

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To provide or not to provide access? The Dutch broadband joint SMP case

On 17 March 2020, the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) published its long-awaited verdict on the appeal against the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) 2018 finding of joint dominance in the Dutch retail broadband market. Why did the CBb rule in favour of the appellants, and what are the implications of this finding for the regulation of wholesale broadband access in the telecoms sector?

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Destination unknown: airport regulation in the wake of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on public health, and significant and far-reaching effects across most sectors of the economy. Given the current global travel restrictions, with most of the world’s population living in countries with some form of travel ban or restriction, aviation has been one of the most dramatically affected sectors. What long-term effects will this have on the sector, and what are the implications for economic regulation?

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Taking Britain to net zero: Ofgem’s decarbonisation action plan

On 3 February Ofgem, the energy regulator for Great Britain, published its decarbonisation action plan to support the UK in achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Outlining Ofgem’s role in facilitating decarbonisation, the plan lists the trade-offs faced and nine actions that the regulator will take. We look at what the plan says and its implications

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Consumer protection in the online economy

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (Autoriteit Consument en Markt, ACM) has recently published guidelines for online firms and other interested parties, indicating its view on which online business practices are allowed within the boundaries of consumer protection laws— and which are not. Annemieke Tuinstra, Senior Economist in ACM’s Chief Economist Team, discusses the economic and psychological concepts behind the guidelines

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Consumer vulnerability: making sense of this new ground for regulatory intervention

In February 2019, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published a major study on consumer vulnerability, which puts vulnerability firmly on the agenda of regulators and firms. Peter Andrews, Oxera Senior Adviser, considers what is driving this focus on vulnerability, what its implications are, and the principles under which the concept of vulnerability would lead to intervention

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Regulation and policy in Italy: don’t throw away the baby with the bath water!

The Italian water sector is undergoing a period of significant change. The sector does not require radical intervention in its ownership structure to improve investment levels and quality standards, but rather a package of measures to improve the management model and enhance independent regulation. How can tariff regulation be extended nationwide, and how can existing industry fragmentation be overcome?

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