CCP 4th Annual Conference
7-8 July 2008, University of East Anglia, Norwich
Balancing Regulation and Competition
This 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. Much of the Centre's work is devoted to analysing condition in which Competition Policy can flourish and improve welfare. By using the 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, the conference sought to identify how other objectives may be affected by the application of competition policy.
Speakers: Catherine Waddams, University of East Anglia; Joe Farrell, University of California, Berkeley; Cosmo Graham, University of Leicester; Mike Wise and Sean Ennis, Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development; Ruth Hancock, Michael Harker, University of East Anglia; Bruce Lyons, University of East Anglia, Jim Bushnell, University of California, Berkeley; Yves Smeers, Université Catholique de Louvain; Michael Grubb, University of Cambridge; Graham Loomes, University of East Anglia, John Panzar, Northwestern University; Severin Borenstein, University of California, Berkeley; Antonio Estache, Universite Libre de Bruxelles; Howard Shelanski, University of California, Berkeley; and Andrew Scott, London School of Economics.
Programme and Presentations
1st CLEEN Workshop 2008
11-13 June 2008, University of East Anglia, Norwich
The first CLEEN Workshop for New Researchers featured presentations from many PhD students, Post Docs and new Faculty from the Centres involved in the Competition Law and Economics European Network (CLEEN). A varied and intensive academic programme was combined with many social events to leave delegates exhausted but delighted at the end of the Workshop.
Delegates were welcomed to CCP on Tuesday evening, to provide an opportunity to introduce themselves. The programme began on Wednesday morning, with a session on Mergers, and continued in the afternoon with a roundtable session on Regulation, the first half of which discussed Electricity, and the second half, Telecommunications. On Wednesday evening the delegates went ten pin bowling and then on to dinner at various restaurants in the city of Norwich.
Thursday morning featured parallel sessions - on Collusion and on Article 82. After lunch the sessions were on Pricing and on Alternative Objectives in Competition Policy. Due to rain, the scheduled lunchtime picnic was relocated to the UEA Graduate Bar where European football on TV provided the entertainment.
Special Guest Speakers were featured throughout the programme - Ulla Neergaard from the Copenhagen Business School, Svend Albaek from the EC, and Cecile Aubert from Bordeaux University.
On Friday morning a session on Methodological Issues was held to detail delegates' experiences with their research, whether theoretical researchers, empirical researchers or experimental researchers. The final session on Friday featured presentations on Enforcement.
On Friday evening delegates travelled to Sheringham, a seaside village on the North Norfolk coast. Despite the rain, some went for a walk along the beach, while others huddled in the pub where dinner would later be served.
A hasty departure - which almost left one delegate behind - returned delegates to campus just before midnight, where goodbyes and email addresses were exchanged. It is hoped that the Workshop will be repeated, in addition to other formats of CLEEN gatherings such as working groups and discussion groups, conferences, other workshops, events that are more specialised yet remain interdisciplinary, and special events for those just starting out on their academic career; it is also hoped that CLEEN gatherings will become a regular occurrence. The possibility of exchange programmes is already unfolding.
For now, it is enough to say that the CLEEN New Researchers Workshop 2008 was a success on both the research front and the social front: it provided a comfortably informal atmosphere which was perfect for those who were less confident with presenting, excellent for networking, and valuable for interacting with academics at all levels.
School of Economics Conference
3-5 April 2008, University of East Anglia, Norwich
Reconciling Normative and Behavioural Economics
Supported by CCP and the ESRC, the School of Economics conference offered a diverse range of presentations on the theme of reconciling normative and behavioural economics with a varied audience.
In response to a need to develop methods of reconciling normative and behavioural economics, the ESRC is supporting a programme of Research into this reconciliation problem, directed by Professor Robert Sugden and Dr Ben McQuillin.
ESRC Festival of Social Science 2008
13 & 15 March 2008 , The Forum, Norwich
Choosing the Best Energy Deal for You
With recent energy price rises, and a growing public debate on consumers' switching habits and use of price comparison sites, CCP's research on consumers and the energy market couldn't be more timely. Recent working papers, 'Do Consumers Switch to the Best Supplier?' (also see Policy Briefing and Press Release) and 'Gain or Pain: Does Consumer Activity Reflect Utility Maximisation?', (Policy Briefing and Press Release) suggest that the ability of consumers to choose accurately between alternative suppliers is limited, and that despite Competition Authorities introducing new informational remedies to help consumers search and switch more effectively, consumers' confidence in their own estimates is crucial in encouraging market activity.
As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2008, a team from the Centre for Competition Policy at UEA were at the Norwich Forum to help people choose energy suppliers. Centre members were able to assist over 80 people by analysing their gas and electricity bills and providing lower cost alternative suppliers - savings which averaged approximately £180 per person.
Throughout the day we were visited by a local newspaper Eastern Daily Press, and BBC Radio Norfolk which resulted in the event being featured in the press the next day. This raised local awareness which meant on Saturday we welcomed people from the far reaches of Norfolk and beyond.
The event was a huge success with raised awareness of switching amongst the public and positive feedback.
The data that we gathered from people is due to be followed up on: we want to see, out of all the people we found potential savings for, who has switched, if they have made savings; and if people have not switched, we want to find out why. Our findings will be featured in our November 2008 Newsletter, which will be a special edition on Consumers.