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The intensive course in Competition in Digital Markets will be held at the Barcelona GSE from November 20 to 22, 2019. This course offers the opportunity to understand how the digital economy works, and under what conditions competition may not function as it should in this sector. It provides participants with a thorough understanding of how to evaluate the substitutability between different offerings and when to view practices such as tying, exclusive contracts, price-parity clauses, and discriminatory access to platforms as anti-competitive (but also explain in what circumstances they are likely to be beneficial).

Course lecturers includes leading international competition scholars and practitioners with extensive experience of the application of economic techniques to competition cases in this area:

Giulio Federico (Head of Unit, CET, DG Competition European Commission)

Chiara Fumagalli (Associate Professor of Economics, Bocconi University)

Massimo Motta (Professor of Economics, ICREA-UPF and Barcelona GSE; former Chief Competition Economist, European Commission) - course director

Martin Peitz (Professor of Economics, University of Mannheim)

An Early Bird discount will be offered to participants confirming their attendance before October 20. A reduced course fee is also available to Regulators, Competition Authorities, Academics and Barcelona GSE Alumni.

Massimo Motta, Martin Peitz, 20 February 2019

Andrea Prat, Tommaso Valletti, 26 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. 

Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Zigan Wang, 26 June 2017

While the causes and consequences of mergers have received a lot of scholarly attention, geographic factors have thus far been neglected. Using US data, this column argues that greater geographic overlap of the subsidiaries and branches of two bank holding companies increases the likelihood of the two merging, and also boosts the cumulative abnormal returns of the acquirer, target, and merged companies. It also discusses how network overlap can affect synergies and value creation.

Christos Genakos, Tommaso Valletti, Frank Verboven, 16 June 2017

Europe is experiencing a wave of mergers in the telecommunications industry. This column argues that an increase in market concentration in the mobile industry generates an important potential trade-off: while consolidation increases prices, investment per operator also goes up. Competition and regulatory authorities should be open to the potential trade-off between market power effects and efficiency gains from agreements between firms.

Marco Becht, Andrea Polo, Stefano Rossi, 20 July 2016

Many corporate acquirers impose losses on their shareholders. Conflicted or overconfident CEOs and boards embark on acquisitions that are not in the best interest of the owners of the firm. The governance tool of shareholder voting can represent a potential solution. This column shows that in the UK, where bids for relatively large targets require mandatory shareholder approval, shareholders gain when the transaction is conditional on a vote and lose when it is not. The evidence suggests that the vote puts a constraint on the amount the CEO can offer for the target.

Ariel Pakes, 20 June 2016

A key task for economists is predicting how markets will respond to complex changes in environment. This column discusses recent empirical developments that allow for a deeper understanding of such market dynamics. Game theory has informed conditional pricing models that take account of products marketed and their production costs. Likewise, dynamic models of productive efficiency allow for analyses of the role of market structure in inducing competitive efficiencies.

Rui Albuquerque, Miguel Ferreira, Luis Brandao-Marques, Pedro Matos, 17 January 2016

Previous research has shown that the corporate governance practices of firms are constrained by the legal standards of their country of incorporation. This column explores how an active international market for corporate control can substitute for weak institutions in a host country. Using firm-level data from 22 countries, it shows how cross-border M&A activity improves the governance of non-target firms in the same industry, via peer pressure. These findings provide evidence for corporate governance improvements as a novel positive spillover from FDI.

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.

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.

Orley Ashenfelter, Daniel Hosken, Matthew Weinberg, 18 September 2013

The American football season is here. Bud, Miller, or Coors, the classic American lagers, are the beverage of choice to accompany the big game throughout the US. Despite the recent surge of microbrews and imports, the big three brands still capture more than 60% of the market. With the recent merger of Miller and Coors, only two large national brewers remain. No doubt many beer drinkers have wondered whether this merger has raised the price of their brand.

Lawrence White, 22 August 2008

Lawrence White of New York University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about the role of economics and economists in antitrust policy, notably for analysing the potentially anti-competitive effects of mergers, the impact of vertical restraints like bundling, and the use of predatory pricing. The interview was recorded at the American Economic Association meetings in New Orleans in January 2008.

Orley Ashenfelter, Daniel Hosken, 22 April 2008

US antitrust authorities block very few mergers. This column presents estimates of the consumer price impact of five large mergers that were allowed. Prices increased, providing one piece of evidence to support those who say US antitrust authorities are too acquiescent.

Viral Acharya, Tim Johnson, 11 March 2008

Suspicious trading activities ahead of major mergers and acquisitions have raised concerns about insider trading in recent years. New research attributes the rise in insider trading to the growing number of insiders involved in big deals.

Events

CEPR Policy Research