Competition policy

José Azar, Ioana Marinescu, Marshall Steinbaum, Bledi Taska, 07 June 2018

The effect of increasing product market concentration on the labour market is sometimes overlooked because the labour market is often assumed to be entirely competitive. This column discusses the definition of labour markets and analyses the circumstances in which employers have monopsonist power to set wages, thus contributing to the growing debate over whether market concentration might be one cause of stagnant wages and other labour trends. 

Francesco Decarolis, Leonardo M. Giuffrida, Elisabetta Iossa, Vincenzo Mollisi, Giancarlo Spagnolo, 31 May 2018

Governments across the world procure a huge range of goods and services, and ensuring that procurement contracts are negotiated and executed properly can save a great deal of time and money. This column uses evidence from the US to show the effect of staff competence on procurement wastage. Improving the competence of bureaus to the 90thpercentile of the distribution would save an average of $102,619 and 54.5 days per contract.

Koen Frenken, Arnoud van Waes, Magda Smink, Rinie van Est, 03 April 2018

The success of Airbnb and Uber has heralded the rise of online platforms and marketplaces for goods and services. This column identifies public interests that are common to most sharing and gig platforms, and presents a policy framework based on four basic policy options: enforce existing regulations, enact new regulations, deregulate, or tolerate.

Nicoletta Berardi, Patrick Sevestre, 13 March 2018

Identical products are often sold at different prices at different times and in different shops. This column uses data from 1,000 products across more than 1,500 stores to argue that, in France at least, consumers are in a relatively good position to decide where to go shopping. Expensive and cheap stores tend to be persistently expensive or cheap over time and across the products they most commonly sell, and the retail chain to which a store belongs is a good indicator of its expensiveness.

Itai Ater, Oren Rigbi, 20 January 2018

The ability to compare prices openly and easily is widely thought to foster competitiveness, but mandatory disclosure of pricing information can also facilitate collusion between sellers. This column uses evidence from before and after the introduction of price disclosure regulation in the Israeli supermarket industry to evaluate how price transparency affected food prices. Mandatory disclosure decreased the dispersion and, to a lesser extent, the levels of prices. On average, Israeli consumers saved about $27 per month thanks to the regulation.

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