European Court Gets it Right on Abusive Margin Squeeze in Regulated Industries

October 29, 2010

(by Bruce Lyons) Last week’s decision by Europe’s highest court provides admirable clarity and a welcome constraint on specialist regulators.  This seems to contrast with the apparently muddled situation in the USA.  The Court of Justice of the EU (formerly known as the ECJ) has finally confirmed the earlier judgements of the Commission and General Court (formerly CFI) in relation to the Deutsche Telekom (DT) case.  The case has been much debated, but it is worth reflecting on some of the consequences for the economic application of competition law. Read the rest of this entry »

The Competition Implications of Lifting the Cap on University Tuition Fees

October 18, 2010

(by Andreas Stephan) The prospect of abolishing the cap on University tuition fees in England raises a number of competition issues. Apart from coordination in setting fees, a particular danger exists in relation to bursaries in clearing. There may also be the facilitation of parallel pricing through focal points, such as the level of fees underwritten by the government or the figure of £7,000 suggested by the media and by the Business Secretary. Read the rest of this entry »

Bonfire of Quangos will Reduce Consumer Switching and Threaten Effective Competition

October 15, 2010

(by Catherine Waddams) Markets need active consumers to work well, and abolishing Consumer Focus and merging the Office of Fair Trading with the Competition Commission weakens the very support they need to be a vigorous force to discipline markets.  Research from the Centre for Competition Policy (CCP) shows that some consumers are inactive across all markets, and they need support to gain the best benefits and keep companies on their toes.   Read the rest of this entry »

Vince Cable, Competition Policy and Corporate Governance

October 1, 2010

(by Bruce Lyons) “Competition is central to my pro market, pro business, agenda.”  So wrote the new UK Business Secretary.  Yet he had business leaders, including two former heads of the big business Confederation of British Industry, jumping up and down with rage.   Should this be a surprise?  And more importantly, how should we interpret what Mr Cable said? Read the rest of this entry »