A challenging initial assessment for the water companies in England and Wales

On 31 January, Ofwat published its Initial Assessment of Plans as part of the current water sector price control review in England & Wales. Ofwat categorised three companies’ business plans as ‘fast track’, meaning their proposals over 2020–25 are ready to implement. Four companies’ plans were categorised as needing significant scrutiny and substantial rework, and the remaining companies’ plans were categorised as ‘slow track’, needing to undertake further work on their plans. What are the cost-efficiency and finance aspects of this initial assessment?

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The butcher, the baker and the economist: factual and expert witnesses in court cases

In competition and follow-on damages cases, courts often hear evidence from two types of witness: factual witnesses (usually from industry) and economic experts. What is the role of each, and how can courts deal with any differences between them? We offer some insight based on work by the founding father of economics, Adam Smith

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Death of an old star…evolution of a new one?

‘Superstar firms’ are increasingly dominating markets. Network effects may consolidate the position of these firms, but they can also help new entrants to undermine them. In some markets, network effects will both dampen competition ‘within’ the market and spur competition ‘for’ the market. Francesca Arduini, Oxera Analyst, argues that we can employ the framework of evolutionary game theory to derive four key policy insights into this topic

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Does investment in HS2 deliver value for money?

Oxera had a closer look at HS2 (High Speed 2) and what can be expected from a benefit–cost ratio perspective. If constructed in full, the train line is expected to bring positive economic outcomes as well as improving rail connections between the North and South of England in the future.

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Oxera analysis suggests that Northern Powerhouse Rail could return high value for money

On the day that northern leaders unite to back the £39bn investment in Northern Powerhouse Rail, Oxera’s analysis for Channel 4 Dispatches suggests that the scheme could offer high value for money.

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Dealing with digital dominance: insights from Germany

The German government is looking at how competition law can better address abuse of dominance in digital markets. As part of this, an academic study has recommended giving authorities powers to intervene earlier and in additional settings where large platforms or valuable datasets are involved. How can these proposed reforms improve market outcomes while limiting the scope for unintended consequences?

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Increased market power: a global problem that needs solving?

The idea that there has been a widespread reduction in competition across many industries has been widely discussed in recent years by academics, policymakers and the media. But what does the empirical evidence actually say, and what are potential causes and policy options? The Oxera Economics Council met to discuss this topic in November 2018

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A challenging initial assessment for the water companies in England and Wales

On 31 January, Ofwat published its Initial Assessment of Plans as part of the current water sector price control review in England & Wales. Ofwat categorised three companies’ business plans as ‘fast track’, meaning their proposals over 2020–25 are ready to implement. Four companies’ plans were categorised as needing significant scrutiny and substantial rework, and the remaining companies’ plans were categorised as ‘slow track’, needing to undertake further work on their plans. What are the cost-efficiency and finance aspects of this initial assessment?

Read More


Death of an old star…evolution of a new one?

‘Superstar firms’ are increasingly dominating markets. Network effects may consolidate the position of these firms, but they can also help new entrants to undermine them. In some markets, network effects will both dampen competition ‘within’ the market and spur competition ‘for’ the market. Francesca Arduini, Oxera Analyst, argues that we can employ the framework of evolutionary game theory to derive four key policy insights into this topic

Read More


Does investment in HS2 deliver value for money?

Oxera had a closer look at HS2 (High Speed 2) and what can be expected from a benefit–cost ratio perspective. If constructed in full, the train line is expected to bring positive economic outcomes as well as improving rail connections between the North and South of England in the future.

Read More


Dealing with digital dominance: insights from Germany

The German government is looking at how competition law can better address abuse of dominance in digital markets. As part of this, an academic study has recommended giving authorities powers to intervene earlier and in additional settings where large platforms or valuable datasets are involved. How can these proposed reforms improve market outcomes while limiting the scope for unintended consequences?

Read More


Increased market power: a global problem that needs solving?

The idea that there has been a widespread reduction in competition across many industries has been widely discussed in recent years by academics, policymakers and the media. But what does the empirical evidence actually say, and what are potential causes and policy options? The Oxera Economics Council met to discuss this topic in November 2018

Read More


Competition between airports in Europe soars… but where next for regulation?

Where airports do not face effective competition, it may be necessary to introduce economic regulation to protect passengers’ interests. Regulation can help to ensure fair prices, sufficient investment, high-quality service, and efficient costs. At the same time, it is important that regulatory interventions are targeted at areas where competition will not deliver the desired outcomes. With increasing competition between airports, what tools are available to help policymakers decide whether regulation is required?

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Market power assessments in the European airports sector

European airports with more than 5m passengers per annum are regulated by the Airport Charges Directive (ACD), but the European Commission is considering whether to revise this. Oxera, in partnership with CMS, and on behalf of ACI Europe, developed a new practical way for member states to determine which airports face effective competition and could

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Oxera’s reactions to DG Comp’s one-day conference

On 17 January, Commissioner Vestager hosted a one-day conference on ‘Shaping competition policy in the era of digitisation’. As well as providing inputs to the conference on market power in digital, data and algorithmic competition, several members of Oxera’s team attended the event. Our reactions to the four main themes are summarised below.   Competition,

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