Robert Frank, 23 December 2011

Robert Frank of Cornell University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his book, ‘The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition and the Common Good’. He argues that Charles Darwin's understanding of competition – in which individual and group interests often diverge sharply – describes economic reality far more accurately than Adam Smith's. They discuss the implications of this view for current debates about inequality, taxation, and policies to get out of economic stagnation. The interview was recorded in London in November 2011. [Transcript available]

Andrew Healy, 09 December 2011

At this week’s summit on the future of the euro, Angela Merkel will be one of few women in a room full of men. This column provides experimental evidence to suggest that women are often less driven by the desire to compete and have less belief in their abilities than men. The result is that even the highest ranks of power may be bereft of the most able of candidates.

Carol Propper, 11 February 2011

Britain’s coalition government is proposing significant healthcare reforms, which include promoting greater competition between providers and changing the way that care is commissioned. Carol Propper of the Centre for Market and Public Organisation talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about the evidence for some of the claims and counterclaims about the likely impact of the reforms. The interview was recorded at the University of Bristol in February 2011. [Also read the transcript]

Ludger Woessmann, Martin West, 02 December 2010

Does private competition work in the schooling sector? This column presents evidence that countries with more privately operated schools perform substantially better on international tests of student achievement. To isolate the causal effect of private competition, the column focuses on variation in private school shares that has deep historical roots – Catholic opposition to state-run education systems in the 19th century.

Carmine Guerriero, 21 November 2010

When is regulation more efficient than competition? This column provides a theoretical framework for thinking about these issues and explores its implications using electricity data from the US. It argues regulation can be more efficient than competition when investment inducement is salient, and that deregulation can be inefficiently implemented when consumer groups are too politically powerful.

Christopher Cotton, Frank McIntyre, Joseph Price, 21 October 2010

Around the world, the pay and achievement gap between men and women remains significant, as shown by last week’s Global Gender Gap Report. This column explores whether this gap can be explained by attitudes towards competition. Using experimental evidence from math quiz competitions in primary schools, it finds that while males respond better to competition initially, this advantage is short-lived, as females are just as responsive over time.

Marty Gaynor, Carol Propper, 23 August 2010

Governments faced with rising costs and growing demand are constantly searching for methods of delivering higher productivity in healthcare. This column suggests that the introduction of competition among UK hospitals – yet with a fixed price – has lowered death rates without a commensurate increase in costs.

Paul Seabright, 19 February 2010

Paul Seabright of the Toulouse School of Economics talks to Viv Davies about a new CEPR report, Bailing out the Banks, which analyses state-supported schemes for financial institutions in the current crisis and the need to reconcile the potentially conflicting policy goals of financial stability and competition in the banking industry. The interview was recorded in London in February 2010.

Thorsten Beck, Diane Coyle, Mathias Dewatripont, Xavier Freixas, Paul Seabright, 18 February 2010

This new CEPR report focuses on two specific aspects of the policy response to the crisis: financial regulation and competition policy.

Thorsten Beck, Mathias Dewatripont, Xavier Freixas, Paul Seabright, Diane Coyle, 18 February 2010

Billions have been spent saving European banks. Should these bailouts be subject to the usual competition rules or should stability be allowed to trump ‘business as usual’? This column introduces a new CEPR report “Bailing out the Banks: Reconciling Stability and Competition” that argues for a more subtle reaction. Competition policy is critical even in crises but the rules applied must recognise the special features that mark a crisis-struck banking sector.

Javier Santiso, Emmanuel Frot, 18 January 2010

The rapid growth in the fragmentation of aid donors is seen by many to be a burden for recipient countries. This column argues that too much fragmentation is not the issue; the problem is that there is too little competition between the suppliers of aid.

Thorsten Beck, Maria Soledad Martinez Peria, 28 September 2009

Remittances impact development along a number of dimensions including poverty alleviation, education, and entrepreneurship. However, such transactions are expensive. This column shows that a bigger stock of migrants and more competition are associated with lower transaction costs. It says policymakers should focus on improving competition in the remittance market, as regulations have only a limited effect.

Frank Verboven, Marnik Dekimpe, Kathleen Cleeren, Katrijn Gielens, 24 September 2008

Discounters, such as Lidl, operate to offer 40-60% lower prices than conventional retailers, but how much of a competetitive threat to they pose to supermarket giants? In addition to analysing "inter-format" competition between traditional supermarkets and discounters, Verboven et al. examine the competitive effect between retailers of a similar kind and the effects that local conditions can have upon the success the the two formats.

Tomaso Duso, 30 July 2008

How do we know if EU competition authorities are approving the right mergers? This column presents research that tracks how competitors’ stock prices react to merger news to infer when the authorities err. The European Commission is not doing badly, but it has room for improvement.

Nicholas Crafts, 11 July 2008

Standard policies to redress Europe's productivity problems keep politicians in their comfort zone: support for the “knowledge economy” and more R&D. More progress would come if they accepted and facilitated the “dark side” of productivity improvement – the exit of high-cost producers and re-deployment of labour.

Yann Algan, Pierre Cahuc, 25 November 2007

France is in the throes of a vicious circle. Corporatism and state intervention undermine solidarity, destroy social dialogue and reinforce mutual distrust, thus feeding demands for more corporatism and state intervention. Here are some ideas on how to fix it.

Keith Head, Thierry Mayer, John Ries, 27 November 2007

How much should service-sector workers in rich nations fear offshoring competition from much lower paid workers in India? New research suggests that distance still provides signification pro­tection, almost as much in services as it does in goods. Once again the death of distance has been greatly exaggerated.

Marc Ivaldi, 23 October 2007

Trains use three times less energy than cars to transport people; six times less energy than trucks to move freight. Trains use and emit just one-fifth the amount of carbon dioxide. Governments can help fight global warming by using competition policy and tax incentives to induce transportation customers to switch to rail.

Giancarlo Spagnolo, 06 August 2007

Competing firms are on the frontline of a ‘war’ to serve customers; they have little time or resources to grant favours to politicians. Politicians that manage to shield companies from competition can expect to share the ‘fat’ thus created. Maybe this is why many of Europe’s politicians embrace protectionism?

Doris Weichselbaumer, Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, Martina Zweimüller, 16 July 2007

There has been much debate centred around gender wage differentials and discrimination and one of the key questions to emerge whether competitive markets can bring an end to the unequal market outcomes for men and women or if some form of anti-discrimination law is necessary.

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