Andrea Prat, Tommaso Valletti, 25 July 2018

Competition authorities struggle to evaluate the effect of mergers between social media platforms when prices are zero and standard tools like cross-price elasticities are of little use. This column argues that social media platforms are 'attention brokers' that help incumbents maintain market power in other industries by restricting producers’ targeted access to individual consumers. User overlap is more important as a predictor of competition problems than traditional aggregate usage shares. 

Xavier Vives, 22 December 2014

Banking has recently proven much more fragile than expected. This column argues that the Basel III regulatory response overlooks the interactions between different kinds of prudential policies, and the link between prudential policy and competition policy. Capital and liquidity requirements are partially substitutable, so an increase in one requirement should generally be accompanied by a decrease in the other. Increased competitive pressure calls for tighter solvency requirements, whereas increased disclosure requirements or the introduction of public signals may require tighter liquidity requirements.

Hugh Rockoff, 04 October 2014

World War I profoundly altered the structure of the US economy and its role in the world economy. However, this column argues that the US learnt the wrong lessons from the war, partly because a halo of victory surrounded wartime policies and personalities. The methods used for dealing with shortages during the war were simply inappropriate for dealing with the Great Depression, and American isolationism in the 1930s had devastating consequences for world peace.

Tomaso Duso, Klaus Gugler, Florian Szücs, 26 January 2014

In 2004, European merger law was substantially revised, with the aim of achieving a ‘more economic approach’ to merger policy. This column discusses a recent empirical assessment of European merger cases before and after the reform. Post-reform, the outcomes of merger cases became more predictable, and the Commission prohibited fewer pro-competitive mergers. While there remains room for improvement in several aspects, the reform seems to have been successful in bringing European competition law closer to economic principles.

Mario Mariniello, 09 November 2013

Since the adoption of the Anti-Monopoly law in 2007, the Chinese competition authorities have stepped up enforcement of mergers and anti-competitive practices. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has relied heavily on behavioural remedies in merger cases (as opposed to the more efficient structural remedies favoured by the European Commission). Furthermore, merger policy has been used to protect domestic industries from competition. In contrast, Chinese fines for cartels have shown no foreign bias, and if anything have been too low.

Duarte Brito, Ricardo Ribeiro, Helder Vasconcelos, 28 September 2013

Horizontal acquisitions affect prices through two channels: by eliminating competition between the firms involved, and by changing the incentives for collusion in the affected industry. This column summarises recent research that quantifies these two effects using a new methodology – one that accounts for the difference between financial interests and corporate control. A study of the disposable-razor industry shows that small firms have the greatest incentive to undercut pricing agreements. After acquisitions, acquiring firms have greater incentives to collude, whereas other firms in the industry are more likely to defect.

Neil Gandal, Sarit Markovich, Michael Riordan, 19 September 2013

What are the competitive effects of bundling? This columns presents the results of an empirical study of the market for office productivity software in the 1990s. Counterfactual simulations suggest that the introduction of a bundled office suite increases consumer welfare – provided that preferences for word processors and spreadsheet programs are positively correlated, and that competitors do not exit the market.

Lev Ratnovski, 02 June 2013

Bank competition policy seeks to balance efficiency with incentives to take risk. This calls for an intermediate degree of competition. This column argues that although the traditional policy tools are rules on entry/exit and the consolidation of banks, the Crisis showed that a focus on market structure alone is misplaced. There are other, newer ways in which competition policy can support financial stability: dealing with too-big-to fail and other structural issues in banking, as well as facilitating crisis management.

Roger Smeets, Albert de Vaal, 15 March 2011

Proponents of strong intellectual property rights protection argue that it enhances incentives for innovation and knowledge transfer. Opponents, on the other hand, stress the reduction in knowledge spillovers. Using a sample of large, publicly traded firms from 22 developed countries, this column finds that stronger intellectual property rights have a positive and robust effect on backward knowledge diffusion from multinational firms.

Nicolas Depetris Chauvin, Marcelo Olarreaga, Guido Porto, 11 March 2011

Cash crops provide the livelihoods for millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. This CEPR/World Bank book explores the effects of increasing competition in these markets. It finds that while competition improves welfare for farmers on the whole, policymakers should still consider the potential winners and losers in each case.

Nicolas Depetris Chauvin, Guido Porto, 11 March 2011

Millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa rely on cash crops for their livelihoods . This column presents a new CEPR/World Bank book exploring the effects of increasing competition in these markets. It finds that while competition improves welfare for farmers on the whole, policymakers should still consider the potential winners and losers in each case.

Josh Lerner, 18 February 2011

Josh Lerner of Harvard Business School talks to Viv Davies about his book, co-authored with Mark Schankerman, ‘The Comingled Code: Open Source and Economic Development’. Lerner discusses the economic impact of open source software and its relationship with innovation and growth. Drawing from a new database, Lerner describes how open source and proprietary software interact and suggests how government policy should ensure that open source competes effectively with proprietary software. The interview was recorded by telephone on 14 February 2011. [Also read the transcript]

Christian Helmers, Mark Rogers, 21 December 2010

There is broad agreement that research at universities has knock-on benefits for innovation and the wider economy in general. The question remains “how?”. This column presents evidence from across the UK suggesting that local university research has a positive effect on the number local small firms that patent and that this effect strengthens the better the university.

Federico Etro, Emanuele Tarantino, 15 November 2010

Europe is discussing how to regulate standardisation agreements in high-tech sectors. This column warns of a dangerous bias against early licensing agreements and proprietary technologies that would be detrimental to innovation and to the optimal selection of standards.

Sebastian Engelhardt, Andreas Freytag, Stephen Maurer, 29 October 2010

Governments are increasingly interested in promoting open source software. Yet policymakers have seldom laid out any clear theoretical or empirical justification for these policies. This column explores recent studies suggesting that open source and proprietary software strengthen each other and should co-exist – too much open source could actually be a bad thing.

David Harbord, Steffen Hoernig, 28 September 2010

The European Commission recently authorised the merger between Orange and T-Mobile, which will create a single network with 37% of all UK mobile subscribers. While the merger's approval is subject to certain undertakings, this column presents evidence that these do not go far enough to address concerns that competition and consumer surplus will be significantly reduced.

Ari Hyytinen, Frode Steen, Otto Toivanen, 05 May 2010

Should cartels be regulated? This column outlines a new economic toolkit that models the creation of cartels and compares these predictions with real-life observations. Focusing on forty years of postwar data from Finland, this column finds that once cartels are formed, they are long-lasting. If unregulated the amount of cartels will only increase.

Federico Etro, 29 April 2010

Is another IT giant abusing its market position? This column describes the case of IBM – a near-monopolist in the mainframe market – being accused of preventing firm entry by tying its mainframe operating system with its hardware and withholding information for interoperability. The similarities with the Microsoft case suggest that the European Commission’s Director-General for Competition will not go easy.

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The Economics Interest Section of the European Union Studies Association (EUSA) and the Globalization & Monetary Policy Institute of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas are pleased to announce an economics workshop on European Integration. The meeting will be held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas on 18-19th March, 2010 linked to a one-day public conference that the Institute is organising on 17 March on 10 years of the euro.
Papers on any aspect of European economic integration are welcome, as well as papers that place European integration in the context of the ongoing globalization of trade and capital flows. Abstracts are to be sent to both Patrick Crowley at [email protected] and David Mayes at [email protected] by January 10th, 2010. Please indicate whether you would also be willing to serve as a chair and/or discussant.

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The MSc in Competition and Market Regulation provides participants with a rigorous training in competition policy and regulatory issues. A full understanding of how markets work and how they are regulated will be acquired through an in-depth analysis of the functioning of legal and economic institutions and an empirical preparation. Competition policy cases and regulation policy in specific sectors, such as telecommunications, energy, transportation and financial markets will be covered. For more information, please visit www.barcelonagse.eu/MCR.html

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