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Rethinking Consumer Policy: Lessons learned and options for reform

24/25 June 2021 | Online

CCP’s annual conference is a flagship event for fostering exchanges between professionals, policymakers and academic researchers. This year’s topic focuses on the intersection of consumer policy and competition.

Consumer protection is in the policy spotlight like never before, with new digital regulation and proposals to revise consumer law. It is timely to take stock of what we have learned about the effectiveness of past consumer interventions, consider new challenges, and implications for policy developments. The conference will bring together academics from various disciplines, policymakers and practitioners to address these topical and difficult questions.

The discussions should prove of interest for academics, policymakers and practitioners. At CCP we adopt a position of academic neutrality, and as such seek to present a balanced and informed position on the issues discussed.

Topics to be addressed will include:

  • How are dark patterns and choice architecture being taken into account or ignored by consumer policy?
  • Complementarities and tensions between privacy and competition
  • Data portability and its consumer impacts


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CCP 16th Annual Conference 2020

CCP’s annual conference is a flagship event for fostering exchanges between professionals, policymakers and academic researchers. 2020's topic focused on vertical relations and platforms and was held online. It was comprised of three two-hour sessions, one per day on 8/9/10 July.

Vertical relationships and platforms have always been a complex area within competition policy. Some aspects of agreements can be anti-competitive but new vertical structures can also have strong positive benefits, and authorities therefore need to strike a careful balance. The rapid growth of the digital economy, and especially the development of large online platforms, raises major new challenges for this assessment. The topics covered will relate to platforms, ecosystems and various types of agreements involving platforms and other businesses. The discussions should prove of interest for academics, policymakers and practitioners.

Our Annual Conference will provide a valuable insight into this panoply of issues, and related ones, from a variety of academic and policy-making perspectives. It will do so at a crucial time, given the impending review of the EU vertical agreements block exemption regulation and guidelines and the forthcoming CMA report on digital advertising. At CCP we adopt a position of academic neutrality, and as such seek to present a balanced and informed position on the issues discussed.

The conference should be of interest to academics, policymakers and practitioners with an interest in cutting edge economic and legal thinking on digital platforms from a competition and consumer policy perspective.

All sessions were recorded and are available on youtube, click here.

CCP 15th Annual Conference 2019

The 15th CCP Annual Conference took place on 6-7 June 2019 in London on the topic of ‘Machine Learning and AI as Business Tools: Threat or blessing for competition?’. With around 150 delegates in attendance, the conference explored the potential threats and benefits that AI might imply for competition whilst looking at AI as a tool for enforcement and for academic research, and its potential role in improving how we monitor and evaluate markets. The programme offered insights from both social and computer sciences, bringing together a wide range of perspectives from leading academics, policy makers, regulators, consultancies and business discussing the themes of algorithmic pricing, targeted advertising and consumer protection, as well as the use of AI to enhance the position of the consumer.

The competition and consumer policy questions surrounding the increasing digitisation in economic activity are reaching a new height of policy focus as suggested by recent reports in the UK such as HM Treasury’s Digital Competition Expert Panel report as well as policy reviews in other jurisdictions, for example Australia, France, Germany and the EU. Whatever policy changes may occur in the future they should be informed by researchers, policymakers and business with companies in all sectors needing to stay informed to ensure that they are aware of the future risks and can comply with the law, and we hope that this conference contributed in some way to the emerging debate at this interface of social and computer sciences - ultimately helping us to better understand the potential blessings and threats that AI might imply for competition.


SPEAKERS INCLUDED: Paul Bernal, University of East Anglia; Oliver Bethell, Google; Sally Broughton Micova, University of East Anglia & CCP; Cristina Caffarra, Charles River Associates; Andrea Coscelli, Competition and Markets Authority; Sarah Court, Australian Competition and Consumer Organisation; Vincenzo Denicolò, University of Bologna; Elias Deutscher, University of East Anglia & CCP; Sean Ennis, University of East Anglia & CCP; Ariel Ezrachi, University of Oxford; Amelia Fletcher, University of East Anglia & CCP; Michal Gal, University of Haifa, Israel; Imran Gulamhuseinwala OBE, Open Banking Implementation Entity; Stefan Hunt, Competition and Markets Authority; Timo Klein, University of Amsterdam; Jonathan Kewley, Clifford Chance; Kai-Uwe Kühn, University of East Anglia & CCP; Michael Kummer, University of East Anglia & CCP; Wynne Lam, University of East Anglia & CCP; Gregor Langus, Compass Lexecon; Philip Marsden, Bank of England; Franco Mariuzzo, University of East Anglia & CCP; Derek McAuley, University of Nottingham; Danilo Montesi, University of Bologna; Peter Ormosi, University of East Anglia & CCP; Paolo Palmigiano, Association of In-House Competition Lawyers; Anne Riley, Independent Antitrust Compliance Consultant; Gabriele Rovigatti, Bank of Italy; Thomas Sharpe QC, One Essex Court; Howard Shelanski, Georgetown University Law Centre; Tommaso Valletti, European Commission; Peter Wells, Open Data Institute
Sebastian Wismer, Bundeskartellamt

A full review of the conference can be found on our Competition Policy blog.

Programme, asbtracts and speaker biographies can be found in the full Conference Brochure

Delegate List




Ariel Ezrachi, University of Oxford: 'Sustainable and Unchallenged Algorithmic Tacit Collusion'

Vincenzo Denicolò, University of Bologna: 'Artifical Intelligence, Algorithmic Pricing and Collusion'

Kai-Uwe Kühn, School of Economics & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA: 'Algorithmic Price Setting: Does the threat of collusion increase?'

Timo Klein, Tinbergen Institute, University of Amsterdam: 'Autonomous Algorithmic Collusion: Q-Learning under sequential competition'



Michal Gal, University of Haifa Israel: 'Personalisation of Prices, Products and Laws' The Chilling Effect of Governance-by-Data on Innovation

Amelia Fletcher, Norwich Business School & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA: 'Ranking Rankings: Or how to protect consumers from being missled when searching online'

Wynne Lam, Norwich Business School & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA: 'Competitive Imperfect Price Discrimination and Market Power'



Paul Bernal, UEA Law School: 'Underestimating the Value of Privacy'

Gregor Langus, Compass Lexecon: 'Privacy, Targeted Advertising and Competition Policy'

Elias Deutscher, UEA Law School & Centre for Competition Policy: 'How to Integrate Privacy Concerns into Merger Control?' Read Elias' paper here.



Stefan Hunt, Competition and Markets Authority: 'Advanced Analytics for Agencies and Authorities: What’s changed and what’s changing?'

Peter Ormosi, Norwich Business School & Centre for Competition Policy: 'Machine Learning in Social Science Research'


SESSION 5: APPS [Chair: Sally Broughton Micova]

Michael Kummer, School of Economics & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA: 'Market Concentration and Privacy in Online Markets: Evidence from the Mobile App Industry'

Franco Mariuzzo, School of Economics & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA: 'Platform Competition in the Table PC Market: The role of application quality'



Tommaso Valletti European Commission: 'Competition Policy in a Digital Era: A view from Europe'


SESSION 6: PANEL - AI IN PRACTICE [Chair: Amelia Fletcher]

Imran Gulamhuseinwala Open Banking Implementation Entity

Derek McAuley University of Nottingham

Danilo Montesi University of Bologna

Peter Wells Open Data Institute Read Peter's blogpost 

Sebastian Wismer Bundeskartellamt



Gabriele Rovigatti, Bank of Italy: 'From Mad Men to Maths Men: Concentration and buyer power in online advertising'

Tommaso Valletti, European Commission: 'Attention Oligopoly'

Sally Broughton Micova, School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies, & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA, and CERRE Research Fellow: 'The Playing Field for Relationships and Data'



Oliver Bethell, Google

Cristina Caffarra, Charles River Associates

Andrea Coscelli, Competition & Markets Authority

Sarah Court, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Philip Marsden, Bank of England, Enforcement Division

Tommaso Valletti, European Commission



Jonathan Kewley, Clifford Chance

Paolo Palmigiano, Association of In-House Competition Lawyers (ICLA)

Anne Riley, Independent Antitrust Compliance Consultant

Thomas Sharpe QC, One Essex Court

CCP 14th Annual Conference 2018

Competition Policy and Industrial Policy: Is there a need for a new balance?

7-8 June 2018, The Enterprise Centre, UEA

On the 7-8 June, we hosted our 14th Annual Conference on 'Competition Policy and Industrial Policy: Is there a need for a new balance?', again at the Enterprise Centre on the UEA campus. 

This year's conference brought insights from legal, political science and economic perspectives and debated a broad range of topics concerning the tensions between competition policy practice and new goals for industrial policy, whilst offering ideas on how we can rebalance policy goals and design the competition regime of the future.  

With a keynote speech from Gert Jan Koopman from the European Commission, the programme delved into the challenges we now face and included contributions from leading academics, policymakers and consultancies. 

A full review of the conference can be found on our Competition Policy blog.

Programme, asbtracts and speaker biographies can be found in the full Conference Brochure


PRESENTATIONS (Download available via presentation titles)

Keynote Speaker | Gert Jan Koopman, European Commission: 'Competition Enforcement, Competitiveness and Industrial Policy'


Session 2 | Shaping the Data Economy: Using legal rules for industrial policy

Sabine Jacques, UEA Law School & CCP: 'Non-personal Data Mobility in the EU: Is a new right necessaary to protect industrial data? (not available for download)

Karen Mc Cullagh, UEA Law School: 'The UK's post-Brexit Data Economy: Personal data matters'

Howard Shelanski, Georgetown University, Washington DC: 'Innovation and Regulatory Design' (no slides)


Session 3 | Directed Technological Change and the Energy Sector

Ralf Martin, Imperial College London: 'Clean Technologies, Growth and Competition'

Justus Harcup, DICE, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf: 'Directed Technological Change and Energy Policy: The German Experience'

Eugenio Miravete, School of Economics, UEA & CCP: 'Protection Effects of Environmental Policy'


Session 4 | New Industrial Strategy and Industry 4.0

Tony Curzon-Price, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: 'Market Design is Ex Ante Competition Policy for Industrial Strategy'

Hans Friederiszick, E.CA Economics: '"America has the internet, we have the things" - The German way of regulating digital platforms'


Session 5 | Supporting Industries - How have we done? 

Carlo Scarpa, University of Brescia: 'State Aid to the Car Industry - the EU approach'

Tuomas Takalo, Bank of Finland: 'Welfare Effects of R&D Support Policies' 


Session 6 | Panel: The Future of State Aid 

Simon Coward, Hethel Innovation 

Bruce Lyons, School of Economics, UEA & CCP

Sheldon Mills, Competition and Markets Authority

Jenny Sugiarto, KPMG

An overview of this session can be found on the Competition Policy Blog.




Conference Links


Competition Policy Blog: Annual Conference Review


Delegate List


CCP 13th Annual Conference 2017

Just Markets: Distributional Effects of Competition Policy & Economic Regulation

15-16 June 2017, The Enterprise Center, UEA

On the 15-16 June, we hosted our 13th Annual Conference on Just Markets: Distributional Effects of Competition Policy and Economic Regulation back on the UEA campus at the new Enterprise Centre which, when it opened in July 2015, was hailed as Britain’s greenest building.

With over 110 delegates, the conference went beyond the traditional emphasis on improving market efficiency for consumers and explored issues around distributional effects in competition and regulation policy, both generally and in specific markets, with lively and informative presentations and debate. 

The programme brought together a variety of perspectives and included contributions from leading academics, policymakers, consultancies and regulators, as well as the first showcase of some of the research from CCP’s large UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) funded project “Equity and Justice in Energy Markets’, led by conference organiser, Catherine Waddams.

Conference photo stream on flickr

A full review of the conference can be found on our Storify feed.


PRESENTATIONS (Download available via presentation titles)


Session 1 : Setting the Scene & Macro Interactions

Sean Ennis, OECD: "Market Power and the Distribution of Wealth"

Jon Stern, Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy (CCRP), City University, London: “Affordability and Infrastructure Industry Regulation: Lessons from Economic History


Session 2: Explicitly Including Distribution in Competition Policy

Andrew Leigh MP, Australian Labour Party, Introduction to Distribution and Competition: A Video Tribute to Sir Tony Atkinson

Tembinkosi Bonakele, Competition Commissioner of South Africa, The Distributional Implications of Regulation and Competition Policy”

Severin Borenstein, Haas Business School, University of California, “The (Increasingly Difficult) Equity Implications of Getting Residential Electricity Prices `Right’”


Session 3 : Equity and Justice in Energy Markets

Catherine Waddams, Norwich Business School & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA, “Overview of CCP Project funded by UK Energy Research Council (UKERC)”

David Deller, Centre for Competition Policy, UEA, “UK Energy Expenditure Shares in the Long Run”Discussant: Urs Haegler, Compass Lexecon

Michael Harker & David Reader, Centre for Competition Policy, UEA, “Beyond Economic Regulation: Delivering equity and justice in energy markets”

Elizabeth Errington & Noel Longhurst, Centre for Competition Policy, UEA, “Justice and Energy Markets: The Case of Social Housing Tenants”


Session 4 : Distributional Issues in Specific Markets

Morten Hviid, UEA Law School & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA, “Collective Purchasing as a Means for Social Ends”

Eugenio Miravete, University of Texas at Austin; School of Economics & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA, “One Markup to Rule Them All: Distributional Effects of Liquor Pricing Regulation”


Session 5 : Macro Perspectives

Michael Trebilcock, University of Toronto, "The Fracturing of the Post-war Free Trade Consensus: Challenges of reconstructing a new consensus" (no slides available)

Mattia Guidi, LUISS Guido Carli University, “Social-democratic Parties’ Stance Towards Antitrust Policy: The Role of Trade Unions and Party Competition”


Session 6 : Political and Economic Interactions

Shaun Hargreaves-Heap, King’s College London, “Robber Barons, stupid: why more market competition would promote equality now” Discussant: Oliver Latham, Charles River Associates (no slides available)





Conference Links


Annual Conference Review - Storify


Delegate List

Photos (Flickr)

CCP 12th Annual Conference 2016

Competition Policy in Financial Markets

9-10 June 2016, OPEN, 20 Bank Plain, Norwich NR2 4SF

The CCP's 12th Annual Conference on Competition Policy in Financial Markets took place on the 9-10 June 2016 and was fittingly based at OPEN, the premises of the former regional headquarters of Barclays Bank until 2003.

With over 120 delegates in attendance, the programme for this year's event boasted a variety of perspectives with a strong policy focus from a truly multi-disciplinary line-up, with speakers from Law, Economics, Politics and Philosophy, and with a strong policy focus to provide a range of different perspectives.

With the promotion of competition being an increasingly key element of financial services regulation, this two day conference will focus on the challenges and complexities of formulating competition policy across a diverse set of financial services markets, from banking, pensions and insurance to derivatives and currency exchange. The challenges facing regulators and competition authorities in these markets are complicated by the existence of strong behavioural biases amongst market participants, an increasing reliance on digital systems of trade and information exchange, and systemic risks within this most important of sectors

Conference photo stream on flickr

A full review of the conference can be found on our Storify feed.


PRESENTATIONS [download available via presentation titles]

Session 1: Setting the Scene - The View from the Regulators

The UK financial regulators have new responsibilities in respect of competition. In this session, the scene will be set by some of those most closely involved in policy making and regulation in this area.

Mary Starks, Financial Conduct Authority: "Competition, Innovation and Financial Services”

Paul Fisher, Prudential Regulation Authority: “The PRA’s Competition Objective”

Hannah Nixon, Payment Systems Regulator: “Competition in the Payments Industry”


Session 2: Behavioural Economics and Competition in Financial Markets 

The authorities are increasingly employing empirical techniques derived from behavioural economics to understand financial services markets better and to improve remedy design. In this session, we hear more about the regulators’ work in this area, as well as an academic perspective

Stefan Hunt, Financial Conduct Authority: “Using psychology to inform competition analysis”

Alasdair Smith, Competition and Markets Authority: “Behavioural Economics and the Recommendations of the CMA Retail Banking Market Investigation”

Bruce Lyons, School of Economics, University of East Anglia & CCP: “On the Appropriate use of Behavioural Economics in the Analysis of Competition in Financial Markets”


Session 3: Competition and Banking Stability

There is a well-recognised tension in banking between competition and stability, and much discussion about whether banks can be ‘too big to fail’. This session will look at this issue from three angles: political science, law and economics.

Scott James, Department of Political Economy, King’s College London: “The Bureaucratic Politics of the British Dilemma: Institutional Design and Principal-Agent Games in UK Banking Reform”

Albert Foer, American Antitrust Institute: “The American Antitrust Institute Looks at Competition in the Financial Markets”

Xavier Vives, IESE Business School: “Competition and Stability in Banking”


Session 4: Hot Topics in Financial Markets 1 

This session dives into a couple of hot topics in financial market: high frequency trading and internal culture within banks.

Alasdair Brown, School of Economics, University of East Anglia: "Slowing Down Fast Traders: Evidence from the Betfair Speed Bump”

John Thanassoulis, Warwick Business School: “Ethical Standards and Cultural Assimilation in Financial Services” [FULL PAPER]


Session 5: A Legal Perspective on Competition in Financial Markets

There is a growing understanding of, and focus on, antitrust law in financial markets, but how is this playing out and how does it interact with financial services law?

Richard Whish, QC (Hon), Emeritus Professor of Law at King’s College London: The Relationship Between Competition Law and Sector-Specific Regulation in the Financial Services Sector”

David Little, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP: “Antitrust in the Financial Sector: A Risk of Over-Enforcement”


Session 6: Hot Topics in Financial Markets 2

This session addresses further hot topics in financial markets, the use of big data in insurance markets and the role of regulation in mortgage markets.

Lee Callaghan, Aviva: "Big Data, Competition and Insurers: What's Here and What's Next?"

Maarten Pieter Schinkel, Faculty of Economics & Business, University of Amsterdam: "High Rates in the Low Countries: Competition Issues in the Dutch Mortgage Market"




Conference Links

Conference Brochure


Delegate List

CCP 11th Annual Conference 2015

Competition in the Digital Age

18-19 June 2015, University of East Anglia, Norwich

The Centre for Competition Policy’s 11th Annual Conference took place on the 18 – 19 June and this year focused on Competition in the Digital Age – a timely topic given the attention digital markets have recently received.

Opened by Centre Director Morten Hviid and co-organiser Franco Mariuzzo, the conference explored the fascinating developments and unresolved competition issues that the digital economy has thrown up, including consumer search, information collection, information processing, comparison websites, internet platforms, privacy, consent, trust and evidence, approached from several different disciplines including computer science, economics, law and politics.

Conference photo stream on flickr


Conference 2015 Session Blogs 

Session 1: Setting the Scene

Session 2: E-discovery: The Challenge to Enforcement

Session 3: Platforms and Price Relationship Agreements

Session 4: Trust in Digital Markets 

Session 5: New Products - New Regulation

Session 6: The Value of Information


Session Reviews 

Session 1: Setting the Scene

Danilo Montesi from the University of Bologna started the proceedings by discussing the effect on society of the large amounts of data generated by the internet. In his presentation he outlined how data is gathered on all our digital consumption; how data has become a virtual currency, turning the consumer also into the product; and how human behaviour and decisions are increasingly influenced by this data. UEA Law School’s Paul Bernal went on to questions of privacy and autonomy of the individual in the digital economy, and explored how profiling and ‘personlisation’ impacts on our data privacy. Using examples of shopping and behavioural advertising, he showed how people are unaware of the potential risks in the use of their data. Tony Curzon-Price from the CMA rounded off the session by looking at the way comparison websites have revolutionised the consumer’s experience, and at the recent cases involving Most Favoured Nation clauses.


Danilo Montesi, University of Bologna, Italy: "Big Data & Social Science: A Data Driven Society"

Paul Bernal, University of East Anglia: "Profiling, Privacy and Pernicious Personalisation"

Tony Curzon-Price, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA): "Price Comparison Websites: The Frenemies of Competition"


Session 2: E-discovery: The Challenge to Enforcement

Andy Gavil from Howard University, Washington DC began the second session of the day. He debated the challenges to competition enforcement created by on the one hand advances in technology, especially computers and information storage systems; and on the other hand the raising of the bar in terms of economic analysis and burden of proof, and its attendant costs, that the availability of this information produces. From the London School of Economics and Political Science, in her presentation “Predatory Privacy: Testing the Limits of Economic Analysis”Orla Lynskey questioned where competition law can protect privacy, and whether competition law can enhance and complement data protection.


Andy Gavil, Howard University, Washington DC, USA: “Litigating with Terabytes: The Challenges for Competition Enforcers and Courts”

Orla Lynskey, London School of Economics and Political Science: “Predatory Privacy: Testing the Limits of Economic Analysis”


Session 3: Platforms and Price Relationships

The final session of the day saw Kai-Uwe Kühn from University of Michigan shed light on recent cases involving platform intermediaries, for example hotel booking and price comparison websites, by disentangling the various effects of best price clauses offered by those platforms. Whilst Indiana University’s Matthijs R Wildenbeest provided empirical evidence of the impact of such vertical price restraints in the market for e-books.


Kai-Uwe Kühn University of Michigan, USA: “Best Price Clauses Set by Platform Intermediaries: Disentangling the Effects”

Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, Indiana University, USA: “E-book Pricing and Vertical Restraints”


Session 4: Trust in Digital Markets

CEO of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Alex Chisholm opened day two with his presentation on “Data and Trust Concerns in Digital Markets: What are the Concerns for Competition and for Consumers?”, a transcript of which is available to download from the CMA website. Ofcom’s Jonathan Porter followed, covering the economics of personal data and data privacy, the practical issues with informed consent in an on-line world, and the potential implications for Ofcom’s work on the ‘Internet of things.’ Greg Taylor completed the first session by considering how the existence of contracts between firms and intermediaries affect on the one hand the quality of advice received by consumers and, on the other hand, firms’ incentives to invest in improving the quality of their products.


Alex Chisholm, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA): “Data and Trust Concerns in Digital Markets: What are the Concerns for Competition and for Consumers?”

Jonathan Porter, Ofcom: “Economic Issues Around Data Privacy and Data Sharing in the Context of the Internet of Things”

Greg Taylor, Oxford Internet Institute: “Quality Provision in the Presence of a Biased Intermediary”


Session 5: New Products – New Regulation

Session 5 on New Products and New Regulation saw CCP’s Franco Mariuzzo and John Street discuss the fast growing market of mobile applications, and creativity and copying in the digital age respectively. From the School of Economics, Franco Mariuzzo proposed that strategic versioning is profitable for application developers because they will be able to use it to attract new customers, leading to continuous growth of downloads, whilst John Street from UEA’s School of Politics, Philosophy Language and Communication Studies discussed the politics of the music industry and how its increasing use of digitisation results in an expanding fight between streaming companies and record companies.


Franco Mariuzzo, Centre for Competition Policy, UEA: “Versioning in Mobile Apps”

John Street, Centre for Competition Policy, UEA: “Creative Copying: Law, Politics and Originality in a Digital World”


Session 6: The Value of Information

The conference was brought to a close by Steve Tadelis from the University of California, Berkeley and London School of Economics’ Nick Anstead. Steve Tadelis talked about the challenges faced by market platforms in the presence of reputational externalities and biased feedback, and explored the limits of reputation mechanisms, their impacts on the marketplace, and ways in which a platform designer can mitigate these adverse impacts. Finally, Nick Anstead presented a paper that addresses a number of questions raised by the development of data-driven campaigning techniques. He revealed the source of the datasets used by political parties and highlighted the reasons for the adoption of new methods which, he noted, could have an effect on citizen participation and the quality of democracy.


Steve Tadelis, University of California Berkeley, USA: “The Limits of Reputation in Platform Markets: An Empirical Analysis and Field Experiment”

Nick Anstead, London School of Economics and Political Science: “Data-driven Campaigning: Data, Elections and Democracy”


Conclusion & Closing Remarks

With closing remarks from organisers Morten Hviid and Franco Mariuzzo, this year’s CCP Annual Conference created much debate and discussion on the way the digital economy has evolved, and highlighted how Government and Enforcement Agencies now face a number of challenges in deciding how and when to intervene. The two days of presentations amply demonstrated that the challenges are big, both because of the speed with which the agenda and the technology move on and because a “once-size-fit-all” approach looks unlikely to be appropriate.




Conference Links

Conference Brochure


Delegate List

CCP 10th Annual Conference 2014


Problem Markets

12-13 June 2014, University of East Anglia, Norwich
Sometimes markets appear not to be working well for the consumer and can seem a bit ‘too hot' for regulators to handle while nobody is quite sure why or what should be done. 

Often it is not clear if illegal activity is taking place and these 'problem markets' attract widespread attention amongst the public, politicians, academics and the media. 

This provides a stream of work for competition agencies, despite there being no obvious contravention of competition or antitrust law. The work may sometimes be either inconclusive or ineffective and can cause concern amongst both politicians and academics.

With over 120 delegates in attendance from the worlds of academia and practice, the conference examined the key theme from a variety of multi-disciplinary perspectives. Factors identified as potentially creating problem markets included economic factors, both the demand-side and supply-side, as well as wider political and social factors. The potential to which intervention can help matters was also discussed, with reflection on the legal framework and past case experience in the UK, EU and US, as well as on number of specific ‘problem' sectors such as financial services, health, energy and air transport.

Speakers included leading international academics from University of California, University of Liège and Norwegian School of Economics, and representatives from both the public, private and third sector such as the Competition and Markets Authority, Ofcom, Institute for Fiscal Studies, RBB Economics and Which?


DAY 1, Thursday 12 June 2014

Session 1:  Introduction - What is a Problem Market? 

Prof Amelia Fletcher, CCP & Norwich Business School, UEA:  'Problem Markets - The 'Gap' Between Core Competition and Consumer Law'

Ashleye Gunn, Which?: 'How Which? Chooses What to Campaign On'

Catherine Waddams, CCP & Norwich Business School, UEA: 'Consumer Response in Energy'

Session Overview

Session 2: Experience to Date - US and EU

Fabienne Ilzkovitz & Adriaan Dierx, DG COMP, European Commission: 'Problem Markets: The EU experience'

Prof William E. Kovacic, George Washington University & Competition and Markets Authority (CMA): 'Preeminent Problem Market: The US Petroleum Products Sector'

Session Overview

Session 3: Legal Framework

Prof Hussein Kassim, CCP & School of Political, Social and International Studies, UEA  & Hillary Jennings, CCP & Independent Consultant: 'Market Studies - An International Success Story' 

Prof Ariel Ezrachi, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford: 'The Curious Case of Competition and Quality'

Prof Nicolas Petit, University of Liège, Belgium: 'Problem Practices" in EU Competition Law'

Session Overview

Session 4: Competition and the Demand-Side

Prof Joseph Farrell, University of California, Berkeley, USA : 'Problem Markets: The Demand-Side'

Geoffrey Myers & Katie Curry, Ofcom: 'Calls to Non-Geographic Numbers - Changing the Regulatory Regime in a Problem Market'

Session 4 overview

Session 5: The UK Experience of Market Investigations

Andrea Coscelli, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA): 'The UK Experience of Market Investigations'

Session 5 overview


DAY 2, Friday 13 June 2014

Session 6: Supply-Side Issues That Fall Outside of Standard Antitrust Law

Prof Frode Steen, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH): 'Disadvantageous semicollusion: Large Customer Competition'

Prof Severin Borenstein, University of California, Berkeley, USA:  'Are Airlines a Problem Market? A US Perspective' 

Session 6 overview

Session 7: Thin Markets and Market Manipulation

Prof Michael Waterson, University of Warwick: 'Electricity - A Problem Market'

Prof Rosa M. Abrantes-Metz, Global Economics Group & NYU Stern School of Business: 'Problem Markets: Financial Benchmarks & Credit Ratings'

Session 7 overview

Session 8: Competition with Divergent Public Policy Concerns

Prof Rachel Griffith, Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) & University of Manchester: 'Government Intervention in Food Markets'

Prof Carol Propper, Unviersity of Bristol & Imperial College Business School  -  'Competition in Health Care: What Can We Learn from the UK?'

Session 8 overview

Session 9: Debate

"This house believes that interventions which go beyond standard antitrust and consumer law have a valuable role to play in tackling problem markets"

Proposing: Mike Walker, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) & Anneli Howard, Monckton Chambers

Opposing: Adrian Majumdar, RBB Economics & Niamh Dunne, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University

Final Judgement: Prof Bruce Lyons, CCP & School of Economic UEA

Session 9 overview

Conference Links

Conference Brochure


Delegate List


CCP 9th Annual Conference 2013

Institutions and Competition Policy

6-7 June 2013, University of East Anglia, Norwich

Always at the heart of competition policy, institutions have come under increased scrutiny in recent years. New agencies have been created in transition states, while established authorities in Europe have undergone change and reform. Curiously, the growing consensus on the principles and practise of competition policy has not been accompanied by a convergence on organisational form or legal frameworks.
With an audience approaching 100 delegates, the conference brought together a multidisciplinary group of renowned economists, historians, legal scholars and political scientists from both academic and practitioner backgrounds. The conference assessed the importance of institutional design, analysed the impact of institutions and investigated processes of organisational and legal change. The event was held at the UEA Drama Studio, our ever-popular venue which has, for many years, provided an ideal backdrop for rigorous academic debate.
Several of the speakers at this year's conference were interviewed about the main points from their presentations. You can see the video of these interviews here


DAY 1 Thursday 6th June

Session 1: Institutions       

Prof Bill Kovacic, Global Competition Professor of Law and Policy & Director of Competition Law Center, George Washington University: 'Institutions and Competition Policy: Structure, Conduct, Performance' 

Session 2: History

Laurent Warlouzet, Lecturer in History, Université d’Artois and Marie Curie Fellow, LSE: 'The institutional framework of EEC competition policy: European debates and national models (1956-1991)’


Stephen Martin, Professor of Economics, Purdue University: ‘Shaping Antitrust Institutions’


Session 3: Effectiveness

Tomaso Duso, Professor of Empirical Industrial Economics, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics: “The evaluation of Competition Policy Enforcement and Institutions”


Bruce Lyons, Professor Economics, CCP and School of Economics, UEA: “What Determines the Reputation of Competition Agencies?”


Stephen Davies, Professor Economics, CCP and School of Economics, UEA: 'Deterrence and Non-detection: Evaluating Competition Policy when faced with Inevitable Selection Bias’


Session 4: Networks

Imelda Maher, Professor in European Law, University College Dublin: “Transparency and Networks: Accounting for Governance in the Competition Sphere”


Hussein Kassim, Professor of Politics, School of Political, Social and International Studies, UEA and co-presenting Kathryn Wright, Lecturer in York Law School: 'Influence and power in international networks: ECN’


Day 2: Friday 7th June 2013

Session 5: Reform I

David Gerber, Distinguished Professor of Law at Chicago-Kent College of Law: ‘Competition Law and Institutional Change: European Trajectories’


Francisco Marcos, Professor of Law, IE Law School, Madrid: Institutional experimentation? The integration of competition law and regulation enforcement in Spain’

Session 6: Reform II

Maarten Pieter Schinkel,  Professor of Economics, Co-director of the Amsterdam Centre for Law and Economics (ACLE): 'The new Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM)?'

Thibaud Vergé, Chief Economist, Autorité de la Concurrence, France: French institutional reform and the quality of competition decisions’  

Alex Chisholm, Chief Executive Designate, UK Competition and Markets Authority: ‘The new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’

Session 7: Enforcement

Peter Freeman, Chairman, Competition Appeal Tribunal, UK: Competition decision making and judicial control – the role of the specialist tribunal’


Jacques Steenburgen, Faculty of Law, KU Leuven and Director General of the Belgian Competition Authority: ‘Design of institutions for competition policy: the relative merits of inquisitorial and prosecutorial models’

Session 8: Emerging Economies 

Hassan Qaqaya, Head, Competition law and Consumer Policies Branch, UNCTAD, Switzerland: ‘Problems and effectiveness of competition policy in emerging economies’


Sean Ennis, Senior Economist in the Competition Division of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): ‘Emerging Economies: Different Economic Problems, Same Competition Law?’


Conference Links

Conference Programme

More Conference Photos (via Flickr)

Conference Video


CCP 8th Annual Conference 2012

What Do Public and Private Sanctions in Competition Policy Actually Achieve? 

14-15 June 2012, University of East Anglia, Norwich

The Office of Fair Trading has uncovered high-profile cases including sales of replica football kits, airline price-fixing, and bid-rigging in the construction industry – resulting in multi-million pound fines for companies involved. This two-day event focussed on how consumers, who pay over the odds as a result of such practices, can successfully claim compensation.

The conference saw an international line up of economic, law, and political experts talking about their research and experience. Speakers included John Holmes from Which? magazine and Iain Mansfield, assistant director of competition policy at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Dr Andreas Stephan, from the Centre for Competition Policy at UEA, said: "There are a number of obstacles for consumers claiming compensation. In particular, the financial loss is typically shared between a large number of consumers. But while individual losses might be small, the cumulative loss to the economy is potentially enormous.

"The problem in the UK is that we don't allow for collective legal actions on an ‘opt-out' basis.

"When the consumer group Which? attempted to sue for compensation over replica football kits it was unsuccessful because of the cost of identifying affected victims and getting them to sign up.

"In the US however, lawyers are able to sue on behalf of a group of consumers without each consumer needing to specifically ‘opt in' to the legal action.

"The UK government is currently consulting on such a system, which would make it much easier to sue companies for anti-competitive practices."

Iain Mansfield (BIS) led a panel discussion on the government's consultation at the event.

Conference programme

Conference Speakers & Abstracts

Lee McGowan, Queen's University, Belfast: "Americanisation of Cartel Provisions in the UK and EU Regimes? Exploring Criminalisation and Leniency"  

Amelia Fletcher, OFT: "The right mix of sticks and carrots: the OFT's review of its penalties and leniency policies"

Angela Wigger, Radboud University, The Netherlands: "Neoliberalism Consolidated: The Example of Private Enforcement in EU Competition Regulation"

Robert Feinberg, American University, USA: "State Antitrust Enforcement in the U.S. and Implications for Business Entry and Relocation"

Cento Veljanovski, Case Associates: "Deterrence Recidivism and European Cartel Fines"

David Ulph, University of St Andrews, Scotland: "The Welfare Effects of Legal Uncertainty and its Implications for Enforcement Procedures"

Christine Parker, Monash University, Australia: "The Futility of Getting Tough on Cartels?"

Maarten Pieter Schinkel, Amsterdam Business School: "State-aided Price Coordination in Dutch Mortgage Banking"

Angus MacCulloch & Bruce Wardhaugh, Lancaster University: "The Baby and the Bathwater: The Relationship between Private Enforcement, Criminal Penalties, and Leniency Policy"

Parallel Session Speakers:

Kai Huschelrath, ZEW:  "The Impact of Cartelization on Pricing Dynamics - Evidence from the German Cement Industry"

Niamh Dunne, University of Cambridge: "Discounting Fines to Account for Regulation: A Critical Assessment of Commission Practice"

Bruce Wardhaugh, University of Newcastle: "Cartel Control, Public and Private Sanctions: Lessons Europe Can Learn from the American Experience"

Peter Ormosi, CCP & Norwich Business School: "Towards the unbiased assessment of law enforcement: deterrence, detection and other niceties"

Morten Hviid, CCP: "Regulation vs. Self-help: A natural experiment"

Francisco Marco, Center for European Studies/IE Law School: "Diminishing Enforcement: Negative Effects for Deterrence of Mistaken Settlements and Misguided Competition Promotion and Advocacy"


CCP 7th Annual Conference 2011

Consumers in Competition Policy

16-17 June 2012, University of East Anglia, Norwich

The centre's hosted a 7th successful annual conference, which discussed Consumers in Competition Policy, with almost 100 delegates attending throughout the two days.

The conference, held on campus in the UEA Drama Studio, addressed questions surrounding consumer behaviour in markets, including the factors that determine how active consumers are, switching behaviour, whether the markets deliver what consumers actually want and the policy implications.

Conference programme

Pictures from the conference


CCP 6th Annual Conference 2010

Vertical Restraints

17-18 June 2010, University of East Anglia, Norwich

CCPs sixth annual conference was another great success. Over 70 delegates from around the world met to discuss recent findings on Vertical Restraints.

The two-day conference, held in the UEA Drama Studio, looked at Vertical Restraints broadly in particular at how the improvement in the economic understanding, both in terms of theory and empirics, has or can be translated into enforcement reality.

Speakers included academics from the US and Europe, as well as members of the CCP faculty at the heart of this active area of scholarly research.

Conference Programme

Day 1, Thursday 17 June 2010

Session 1: Exclusionary - Broad Pictures

Daniel Crane, University of Michigan, USA:  "Toward a Unified Theory of Exclusionary Vertical Restraints"

Ralph Winter, University of British Columbia, Canada: "Exclusionary Contracts" (full paper)

Session 2: Exclusion - Specific Means

Greg Shaffer, University of Rochester, USA & CCP: "Naked Exclusion with Minimum-Share Requirements"

Abraham Wickelgren, University of Texas at Austin) "Robust Exclusion through Loyalty Discounts"

Session 3: Empirical Studies

Francine Lafontaine, University of Michigan, USA: "Organizational Form and Performance: Evidence from the Hotel Industry"

John Asker, NYU, USA: "Relational Contracting in Vertical Markets: Evidence from the Peruvian Anchovy Fishery"

Day 3, Friday 18 June 2010

Session 4: Media

Frank Verboven, KU Leven, Belgium: "Vertical Control of a Distribution Network: Evidence from Magazines" 

Michael Harker, CCP & Norwich Law School: "Vertical Restraints in the Broadcasting Industry: Content is King".

Session 5: Foreclosure

Patrick Rey, University of Toulouse, France: "Vertical Integration, Innovation and Foreclosure.

Cedric Argenton, University of Tilburg, The Netherlands: "Exclusivity Contracts, Insurance and Financial Market Foreclosure"

Final Session: The Broad Policy Landscape 

Andrew Gavil, Howard University, USA: "Has Interbrand Competition Become the Sole, Not Merely the Primary, Concern of Antitrust Law in the United States?"

Alison Jones, Kings College, London: "Vertical Restraints: The Journey Towards an Effects Based Approach" 

Andreas Stephan, CCP & Norwich Law School: "Finding a Legal Approach to Hardcore Vertical Restraints"


CCP 5th Annual Conference 2009

Cartels and Tacit Collusion

18-19 June 2009, University of East Anglia, Norwich

CCPs fifth annual conference was another roaring success, with around 85 delegates from all over the world attending the two-day event at UEAs Drama Studio. 

Some presentations focused solely on the cartel problem by asking how are successful cartels organised and how do they overcome the problem of monitoring what fellow conspirators do? What are the harms from cartel activity and how do we measure this? And, what are the roles and effects of compliance programmes? Some looked at tacit collusion and the problems caused by various features such as cost asymmetries, transparency, hub and spoke agreements and contract bidding, whilst others were directed on the interface between the two, in particular on the role of firm numbers and on asymmetries in size.

Several papers used experimental methods to explore the role of excess capacity, of leniency programmes, of bargaining within the cartel, and of communication and renegotiation among cartel members. 

Conference Programme

Day 1, Thursday 18 June 2009

Session 1: Cartels

Maarten Pieter Schinkel, University of Amsterdam: "Cartel Damages: On The Commissions Call for Simplified Rules on Estimating the Loss" (full paper)

Maggie Levenstein, University of Michigan: "Determinants of Cartel Duration and the Role of Cartel Organization" (full paper)  

Joe Harrington, Johns Hopkins University: "Collusion with Monitoring Based on Self-Reported Sales"

Session 2: Tacit Collusion

David Gilo, Tel Aviv University: "Partial Cross Ownership and Tacit Collusion under Cost Asymmetries"

Christian Schultz, University of Copenhagen: "Transparency on Both Sides of the Market and Tacit Collusion"

Okeoghene Odudu, Cambridge University: "The Hub and Spoke Agreement: ABC Collusion" 

Rob Porter, Northwestern University: "Competition or Collusion in Recent Offshore Oil and Gas Bidding?"

Day 2, Friday 19 June 2009

Session 3: Experimental Research on Collusion

Hans Theo Normann, Goethe University: "Excess Capacity and Collusion in Bertrand-Edgeworth Markets: Experimental Evidence"

Jeroen Hinloopen, University of Amsterdam: "Going Once, Going Twice, Reported! Cartel Activity and the Effectiveness of Leniency Programs in Experimental Auctions"

Kai-Uwe Kühn, University of Michigan: "Communication, Renegotiation, and the Scope for Collusion"

Session 4: Overview of Research on Collusion in CCP

Robert Sugden, CCP & School of Economics, UEA: "Salience and Tacit Collusion" 

Andreas Stephan, CCP & Norwich Law School, UEA:  "Why Antitrust Compliance Programmes May Be Ineffective at Preventing Cartels"

Stephen Davies. CCP & School of Economics, UEA: "Tacit versus Overt Collusion: Firm Size Asymmetries and Numbers"

Rt. Hon. Charles Clarke, MP for Norwich South, also addressed the audience: he was a a member of the cabinet when the UK Enterprise Act 2004 criminalised cartels (i.e. ringleaders could from then on be sent to prison), and he spoke about the political context for that decision.

CCP 4th Annual Conference 2008

Balancing Regulation and Competition

 7-8 July 2008, University of East Anglia, Norwich

The 2008 Annual Conference explored the boundaries of competition policy, and the appropriate balance between regulation and competition, both in general terms and using examples from particular sectors. The object of the conference was to use insights from leading economists, legal scholars and political scientists to understand where the application of competition policy is constrained or may need to be tempered. Similarly it sought to identify how other objectives may be affected by the application of competition policy.

Much of the Centre's work is devoted to analysing condition in which Competition Policy can flourish and improve welfare. This conference extended that perspective by identifying limits to competition policy, both intrinsically because of internal ambiguities, and in interaction with other social or economic objectives.

To view the slides that are available, click through to the required speaker in the Conference Programme.  


CCP 3rd Annual Conference 2007

Comparative Perspectives on Multi-Jurisdictional Antitrust Enforcement

14-15 June 2007, University of East Anglia, Norwich

The ESRC Centre for Competition Policy's 2007 Annual Conference boasted some prestigious speakers, who presented a truly first-rate programme for a largely, but not exclusively, law-based audience.  With excellent discussion sessions following each presentation, delegates were able to get stuck into issues surrounding the presentations.  The presence of a number of speakers from the US ensured further delegates were able to share ideas in a comparative way, which generated further discussion outside of the studio.

Day 1, Thursday 14 June 2007

Morning Session

Chaired by Professor Barry Rodger from the University of Strathclyde, the Conference opened with Professor Morten Hviid's overview.  Wayne State University's Stephen Calkins followed, presenting "Equilibrating Tendencies in Competition Law: Implications for European Reforms".  Professor Calkins discussed how the existence of robust private enforcement remedies has had an important constraining influence on substantive U.S. antitrust law: on issue after issue, U.S. law has been made more precise and narrow because of fear of private litigation abuses.  He contrasted this situation with that of Europe, which has enjoyed the luxury of developing a competition law jurisprudence largely free from worries about private enforcement.

Afternoon Session

Chaired by Ali Nikpay from the Office of Fair Trading, CCP's Michael Harker presented first on "Cross-Border Mergers in the EU: Commission versus Member States", (paper here) reviewing cases where the Commission has taken action against member states, where the latter have either acted contrary to the exclusivity principle under the EC merger control regime, or have maintained in place ex ante measures with the purpose of seeking to control or deter cross-border investment in key strategic industries.  Dr Harker highlighted how such cases pose serious problems for the stability of the EC merger regime.  

Jonathan Galloway from the Newcastle Law School gave a presentation on "EU Merger Control: Does the Re-emergence of Protectionism Signal the Death of the "One-Stop-Shop"?", (paper here) in which he outlined how the increasing visibility of national industrial policies across the EU, which has been described as "economic protectionism", is posing a direct threat to the efficacy of the ECMR.  The paper considered some recent cases, and pleaded for greater legal and commercial certainty in this murky jurisdictional area.  

The last two speakers of the day, Commissioner William Kovacic and Professor Andrew Gavil, from the Federal Trade Commission and Howard University respectively, presented their entertaining and engaging paper, "Centrifugal and Centripetal Forces in Antitrust: the Role of Appellate Review".  This paper observed how antitrust enforcement authority has generated institutional stresses that cause enforcement to swing repeatedly between being decentralised and centralised, and asked whether privatisation and decentralisation of competition law enforcement authority in Europe will over time lead to conflicts of interpretation and approach.

Day 2, Friday 15 June 2007

Morning Session

Chaired by Imelda Maher from University College Dublin, the mornings sessions began with CCP PhD student Firat Cengiz, who presented "Management of Networks between Competition Authorities of Different Layers in the US and the EC: Different Polities, Different Designs".  This paper compared the management of networks between the competition authorities in the US and the EU and questioned whether transatlantic policy learning is possible.  

Scott Hemphill, Associate Professor of Law at Columbia University, then presented "Empirical Analysis and Workable Antitrust Policy: Finding the Right Rule for Drug Patent Settlements", (paper here) in which he considers the institutional strengths and weaknesses of the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice against a backdrop of ongoing disagreement over settlement of patent litigation between brand-name drug makers and their generic rivals.  

Rounding off the morning, Stephen Wilks presented "The Modernisation of European Competition Policy: Networks, Convergence and Corporate Governance". (paper here).  Professor Wilks, from the University of Exeter's Department of Politics, outlined the major changes in the enforcement of the European Competition Rules and explored the apparently effective operation of the European Competition Network.  He then argued that we are seeing a transition in policy enforcement with major initiatives: a turn to economics, and Americanisation, seen in the encouragement of private actions.

Afternoon Session

The final sessions were chaired by John Preston of the Department of International Development. Kati Cseres, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Amsterdam, discussed "The Interface between EC Competition Law and the Competition Laws of the New Member States: Implementation or Innovation?".  The analysis of this paper focused on competition law implementation in terms of whether it has been justified from the point of view of these countries' social and economic circumstances, and also evaluated the enforcement of the new competition laws, presenting a critical assessment of the harmonisation process of competition law.  

Philip Marsden, Director of the Competition Law Forum and Senior Research Fellow of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, presented the final paper of the conference, "Trade, Competition and Multilateral Rule-Making: a Warping of the International Legal Order?".  He discussed the interesting institutional issues for trade law, competition law and public international law that were raised by the controversial findings in the Mexico-Telecommunications case ("Telmex"), in which the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body interpreted GATS as already containing a ban on cartels and even state-authorised cartels.

Feedback from this year's conference was very positive. The UEA Drama Studio once again provided a perfect setting for the sessions, and again, bursaries were provided for international PhD students which proved a popular move, enabling many new and useful contacts to be made between visiting students and CCP members. The high standard of presentations also meant that in an interdisciplinary sense, beneficial and stimulating contacts were established and built upon between all levels of academics, whether from a law, economics, or political science background.

Conference Programme

CCP 2nd Annual Conference 2006

Cases in European Competition Policy: The Economic Analysis

6-7 July 2006, University of East Anglia, Norwich

It wasn't simply the setting of the UEA Drama Studio that caused the ESRC Centre for Competition Policy's Annual Conference to be concluded with a round of applause worthy of a Shakespearean play. Over a hundred delegates departed having been entertained and engaged, and with minds full of cutting-edge research disclosed to them by the selected speakers - leading academics who have advised on competition cases that have been investigated by European courts and authorities.

This year's conference, entitled 'Cases in European Competition Policy: The Economic Analysis', was held on 6 and 7 July and successfully demonstrated the CCP's dedication to inter-disciplinary research. Over a period of a day and a half, the speakers examined the way in which economics is being used more and more in competition investigations throughout Europe. The slots set aside for discussion proved valuable as they allowed for free dialogue and frequent, involved debates. Since delegates came from widely varied backgrounds - ranging from practitioners, economists and lawyers to leading academics and PhD students - these slots also enabled the subject matter to become more approachable through conversation.

Conference Programme

Identifying Unilateral and Coordinated Effects in Mergers

The conference kicked off with a talk by Steve Davies from CCP, who bravely stood in for an unavoidably absent Marc Ivaldi (Université de Toulouse). Steve's cramming beforehand paid off; a sometimes very technical presentation on merger simulation turned out to be well-received as an opening talk. Margaret Slade, from the University of Warwick, followed on from this with an assessment of the simulation of unilateral effects in appraising mergers. Kai-Uwe Kuhn, from the University of Michigan, then presented on collective dominance; he detailed excessive emphasis on price transparency, amongst other things, when capacity constraints are often of overriding importance.

Do Agreements Between Firms Harm Customers?

After lunch, Bruce Lyons of the CCP examined the extent to which it is necessary for sports governing bodies to restrain behaviour in order to maintain the integrity and quality of sport. Jean-Charles Rochet, from the Université de Toulouse, clarified the degree to which interchange fees and non-discrimination rules are necessary to achieve efficiency in a multi-sided market. In the afternoon Mike Waterson, from the University of Warwick, held an entertaining economic analysis of the litigation between tenants and brewers and concluded that sometimes it may be more beneficial to lose cases than to win them.

That evening, delegates were driven to Norwich City Football Club at Carrow Road, where they enjoyed a delicious meal at Delia's Restaurant.

Dominance and Damages

An uncommonly early start, and a return to the Drama Studio, saw Peter Møllgaard of the Copenhagen Business School confirm that there was "something...rotten in the state of Denmark", as he mused on the calculation of damages caused by a Danish pre-insulated pipe cartel. John Van Reenen, from the ESRC Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), followed by giving a clear analysis of the key issues surrounding Microsoft and their apparent perpetual investigation by competition authorities.

Do Oligopolistic Practices Harm Consumers?

Mark Armstrong, from the ESRC Centre for Economic Learning (ELSE), showed how unregulated termination charges by mobile phone companies would distort the market in the absence of regulation. Paul Dobson, from Loughborough University, was the last of the speakers; he looked at some of the recent issues facing UK supermarkets, such as accusations of monopoly status, and examined the different effects of buyer and seller power.


The conference had a great atmosphere and ran very smoothly: it was punctuated with coffee breaks which provided good opportunities for networking, and its audience gave the CCP strong encouragement in its work. The provision of bursaries enabled ten PhD students from all over the UK to attend, and thus the Centre ensured that the next generation of competition economists could meet and be stimulated by the current leaders in the field. The Centre looks forward to doing it all again next year, when the papers will have a comparative US-EU theme.

A book on these cases in European competition policy will be published next year, consisting of chapters written by the speakers at this conference. It will be published by Cambridge University Press. 

CCP 1st Annual Conference 2005

Credibility Through Delegation? Independent Agencies in Comparative Perspective

28-29 June 2005, University of East Anglia, Norwich

Conference Programme

Issues surrounding the delegation of authority to non-majoritarian  institutions such as regulatory agencies, competition authorities and independent central banks were discussed and debated at a two-day conference organised by the Centre for Competition Policy at the University of East Anglia on 28 and 29 June 2005.

The conference heard a series of distinguished speakers explore the question of credibility in relation to different types of non-majoritarian institution in a variety of institutional settings and contrasting geographical contexts.  Giandomenico Majone distinguished between agents to whom partial decision-making authority is delegated, and trustees who are granted full decision-making power.  In the first case, he argued, the challenge is to discover how best to minimise agency costs; in the second, where the relationship is fiduciary, the question is how best to ensure accountability. 

The second speaker, Fabrizio Gilardi was concerned with the conditions that give rise to independence and argued that the literature on veto players offers valuable insights.  His discussion explored the differences between regulatory agencies and central banks and sought to identify the sources of these differences.  Roger Noll, Stanford, brought the first day to a close, with a detailed examination of what makes credibility possible.  Drawing on the experience of African states in telecommunications, he considered the challenge faced by regulatory agencies attempting to develop credibility in political systems where credibility is in short supply and where even the finest institutional design may not be sufficient to deliver independent decision making.

The second day was opened by William E. Kovacic. Challenging the conventional wisdom and periodisation concerning the performance of anti-trust regulators in the USA, he identified the strategies that are necessary for a competition authority to establish, retain and increase its credibility. Imelda Maher noted the challenge posed for the rule of law by the exercise of discretionary power. In her presentation, she considered the role of law as a factor contributing to the credibility of competition authorities and its relationship to effectiveness. She also touched on the existence of international networks of competition authorities as a source of credibility.

Erik Jones addressed the issue of credibility in relation to the European Central Bank.  Asserting that credibility is best seen as an argument rather than an attribute, he looked at how successive Presidents have understood the term and how they have sought to establish personal and institutional credibility.The final presentation was made by CCPs Lindsay Stirton and Michael Harker. Addressing the supervisory jurisdiction of the courts over the exercise of executive powers by regulatory authorities, they examined how far the dominant theoretical framework, which emerged in the US, can be applied in the UKs very different constitutional context.

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