2007 Bonn Workshop
On 6-7 December, CCP members attended a workshop at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, which was the first workshop held as part of the recently-formed Network of European law and economics centres. It was a great success: CCP members returned with glowing reports of the value of being able to interact with other centres' representatives and look forward to repeated events.
2007 Frode Steen to Visit CCP
From Monday 12 November to Friday 16 November CCP played host to Professor Frode Steen from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration.
During his stay Frode met various CCP members to discuss their shared research interests.
His visit culminated in him giving a presentation as part of the Seminar Series on the Friday, entitled "Gasoline Prices Jump Every Monday: an Outcome of Aggressive Pricing?"
2007 Visitors to CCP
From Friday 2 November to Wednesday 7 November CCP hosted the visit of Stephen Wilks, Professor of Politics from the University of Exeter. During his stay Professor Wilks gave a seminar and engaged members in a number of one-to-one and group discussions on various themes.
On Wednesday 7 November CCP will host another visitor, Dr Robert Hudson from Leeds University, who will be discussing behavioural finance with CCP members following his seminar in the Norwich Business School.
2007 ESRC Recognition
The Centre for Competition Policy recently received recognition from the Economic and Social Research Council as a "+3" training outlet for doctoral students. We are delighted to have received this acknowledgement of the quality of the research training offered by the Centre, where we see training the next generation of competition and regulation policy as central to our role.
2007 CCP Wins Three Contracts
CCP wins two contracts with the OFT:
Activating Consumers: Consumers play a key role in activating competition and making markets work well. However, the role that consumers play is sometimes limited by their lack of information about products, their substitutes and complements, an inability to process the available information effectively and 'bounded' rationality. In addition, a number of identified behavioural 'biases' may take different views on matters such as risk and time preference from the standard economic model. CCP has been awarded the contract to undertake this research for the OFT, the aim of which is to summarise existing economic theory and empirical evidence underlying consumer remedies.
Productivity: The purpose of this project is to examine, through case study, the impact of an anti-trust intervention on productivity. It relates to the abolition, in the late 1990s, of the Net Book Agreement (NBA). The NBA was a form of RPM (Resale Price Maintenance), which had existed amongst UK publishers since the early 1990s, designed to artificially constrain the retail prices of books by preventing any bookseller from selling a book at a price under the publisher's chosen price. The project, commissioned by the OFT, will evaluate the impact of abolition on productivity using panel data within the UK and international comparator countries, where RPM on books remains.
And a third with BERR:
Consumer Empowerment: This project, undertaken on behalf of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), intends to benchmark the performance of the UK framework supporting consumer empowerment through comparison against relevant international comparator companies. It will also investigate market outcomes and the key impediments to consumer empowerment.
2007 Welcome to New Members
CCP welcomes two new members this month: Judith Mehta, who joins us on a part-time basis as Research Coordinator, and Hieu Tran, full-time Research Associate for six months. We look forward to working with them both.
2007 Price-Fixing Developments
As BA are fined a record £121.5m by the OFT for surcharge price-fixing, allegations of price-fixing are occurring a lot closer to home. As part of a three-year nationwide investigation by the OFT into alleged bid-rigging by construction companies, it has emerged that Norfolk-based builders RG Carter, Mansell Construction Services and Keir Eastern are being investigated.
CCP members Luke Garrod and Andreas Stephan have recently published research in this area - Luke's work examines the effects of surcharges on consumers, and Andreas's work details the results of a survey which gauges public opinion towards price-fixing.
Last week we saw five CCP PhD students don their gowns for graduation. Congratulations to all five on their success:
Andrew Bugg (Economics) Nicola Mazzarotto (Economics) Khac Pham (Management) Chris Pike (Economics) Chris Wilson (Economics)
2007 Greg Shaffer Visit
Last week we said goodbye to Greg Shaffer, who spent six weeks at CCP again this summer to work closely with members on buyer power. Greg attended our Annual Conference while he was here, and spent some time brainstorming with various members and PhD students. We look forward to continued links with Greg in the future.
2007 Is your Marketing Manager Breaking Competition Law?
Marketing personnel may cause most of the UK's competition law offences. Recent research has discovered that in the majority of anti-competitive markets investigated by the UK Competition Commissions, anti-competitive behaviours are closely linked to the firm's marketing decisions.
2007 Spoiled by Choice?
Initial optimism about the positive effects of competition in newly opened utility markets has been partly spoiled by many consumers not playing a textbook economics role. Despite the energy regulator celebrating the fact that four million customers switched suppliers in 2006, results from the CCP suggest that many of these consumers may have actually made themselves worse off as a result.
2007 Project 5 Visitors from Turkey
From Tuesday 27 to Thursday 29 March the Centre welcomed back Necmi Bagdadioglu from Turkey, who arrived with his colleague Necmi Odyakmaz to discuss the imminent liberalisation of the SEE electricity market and its implications for Turkey. Necmi Bagdadioglu is Associate Professor in the Department of Public Finance at Hacettepe University, and Necmi Odyakmaz is from the Turkish Energy Market Regulatory Authority.
They presented some engaging research on the current situation in Turkey and provoked much discussion throughout the Centre during their stay.
Necmi (Bagdadioglu) was a Visiting Fellow at CCP on a Jean Monnet scholarship for 1 year from September 2005 to September 2006.
2007 Electricity Reform Project Visits
Throughout March the Centre has welcomed visits on Wednesdays from representatives of countries of South East Europe, who have given presentations on electricity reform in their countries. On 7 March CCP hosted Greece's representative, Katerina Iliadou, of the University of Athens and a Legal Advisor at the Public Power Corporation 8A. Katerina gave an engaging presentation and provoked much debate afterwards. The following week, on 14 March, Jelena Zoric and Nevenka Hrovatin from the University of Ljubjlana presented on Slovenia's current situation. The week after, on 21 March, Michael Pollitt from the University of Cambridge visited the Centre to give a talk on the theme of regulatory institutions.
2007 Visit from Kati Cseres, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Amsterdam
Kati Cseres' visit to the Centre from the University of Amsterdam involved general and one-to-one discussions with various CCP members on the subject of competition law and consumer protection, and culminated in her presenting a paper as part of the CCP Seminar Series. We look forward to continued future links with Kati, as well as the possibility of further visits and joint research.
To view Kati's homepage, click here.
2007 PhD Awarded To Khac Pham
We are pleased to announce that Pham's PhD has now been awarded, and would like to offer our congratulations.
Pham will be continuing with the Centre as a researcher until further notice.
2007 Croatian Visit to CCP
As part of the research into South Eastern Europe Electricity Reform (under Project 5), the Centre last week welcomed some representatives from Croatia: Desa Mlikotin Tomic, a Professor at the University of Zagreb, Mirna Pavletic Zupic, a member of the Croatian Competition Council, and Hana Horak from the University of Zagreb. While here they gave some presentations on their domestic situation with regards electricity supply.
2007 Posthumous PhD Awarded to Heather Coles
written by Steve Davies
Heather Coles died tragically in a swimming accident on 5th June 2005. Heather was a highly talented student and, in my opinion, she was within 6-12 months of successfully completing her PhD thesis. I am therefore pleased to announce that the decision has been made to posthumously award Heather her PhD.
I miss her deeply, as do my colleagues and her fellow students in the Centre for Competition Policy and the School of Economics. She was not only a person of considerable academic potential, she was also a close friend, with a wonderful joie de vivre, considerable charm, and, above all, great sensitivity and humanity.
2007 CCP Appoints New Post Docs
Following a very strong field of applications, CCP is pleased to announce the appointment of two Post Doctoral Research Fellows:
Liza Lovdahl Gormsen is planning to join the Centre in September. She is currently working at the OFT and is completing her PhD on 'Article 82: Origin, Modernisation and Implications' at King's College, London.
Zhijun Chen plans to join CCP in June. He completed his PhD on 'Fighting Collusion in Mechanism Design: Theory and Applications' at the University of Toulouse last year, and is currently working in China in Zhejiang University's School of Economics.
They will both bring valuable new perspectives to the Centre, and we look forward to welcoming them later in the year and working with them.
2006 Two Month Visit for CCP Associate
We say goodbye to CCP Associate Greg Shaffer, a professor of Economics and Strategy at the Simon School of Business, University of Rochester, who visited CCP for two months this Spring. During his stay he met with CCP members for discussions on the role of low-price guarantees and most-favoured customer clauses in facilitating tacit collusion, and on the welfare effects of buyer power in vertical markets and mergers. He also gave a seminar on exclusionary discounts in input markets, met with PhD students, and contributed to the Buyer Power week.
2006 Student Successes
The CCP would like to congratulate three of its students and one postdoctoral research fellow on their recent successes:
Chris Pike is close to finishing his PhD and started as an assistant economist at the Competition Commission in May.
Chris Wilson is close to finishing his PhD thesis and is due to start an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship at Oxford under Sir John Vickers in October, where he will be continuing his research into the effects of Consumer Protection Policy on competition.
Vinh Sum Chau's PhD is also confirmed. Vinh will be staying on at UEA as a researcher in MGT.
Andrei Medvedev successfully defended his thesis recently and is continuing research at the CCP.
Congratulations to all four and good luck for the future!
2006 Joe Farrell visit from Berkeley
Joe Farrell, a member of CCP's academic committee and Professor of Economics at University of California, Berkley, visited the CCP on 30 May for a series of discussions with Centre members. Topics discussed included merger remedy negotiation, new behavioural IO and strategic objectives for a competition authority. As part of his visit Joe also gave a seminar on Efficiency and Competition Between Payment Instruments.
2006 Peter Freeman Visit
The Chairman of the Competition Commission, Peter Freeman, visited CCP on March 22nd. Mr Freeman joined CCP members for tea and an informative and interesting discussion on current issues in competition policy. He then went on to give a lecture entitled: "Competition Law and Economics: Partnership of Equals or Struggle for Supremacy?" The lecture was the third in the Norwich Law School's Public Lecture Series. For the full text of Mr Freeman's lecture click here.
2006 Russell Pittman Visits CCP
The Director of Economic Research and International Technical Assistance Economic Analysis Group Antitrust Division at the US Department of Justice, Russell Pitman, is visiting CCP. During his stay he will meet with CCP members for discussions on their research particularly on South East Europe electricity, attend the London launch of the new book on Merger Control by CCP members Andrew Scott, Morten Hviid and Bruce Lyons and give a seminar on restructuring of the Russian railway and electricity sectors.
2006 CCP Members Complete Major new Book on Merger Control
CCP members Professor Morten Hviid, Professor Bruce Lyons and Dr Andrew Scott have recently completed a comprehensive new work entitled 'Merger Control in the United Kingdom'.
The 600 page book, will be published by Oxford University Press in December. It combines in depth coverage of the law, architecture and procedure of UK merger control, practical advice on shaping and preparing transactions while minimising regulatory risk and expert economic commentary presented in an accessible manner for a non-specialist readership.
More details here.
2005 Two New Researchers for CCP
CCP has strengthened its research team with the addition of two new members who joined at the beginning of September.
Andrei Medvedev takes up a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow position having joined CCP from the Centre for Economic Research and Graduate Education, Charles University, Prague, where he was a PhD student. His research interests are merger regulation, industrial economics and game theory.
Professor Necmiddin Bagdadioglu has taken up a one year post under the Jean Monnet scholarship programme. He joins CCP from the Department of Public Finance at Hacettepe University in Turkey. His research at CCP will focus on European Union energy policy and the integration of the Turkish energy market with the European energy market.
2005 Media Mergers Study
CCP has won funding to undertake a study into the assessment of media mergers on behalf of the Irish Competition Authority.
The aim of the study is to develop an analytical framework for such assessments under Irish competition law, in the context of concepts such as media diversity and pluralism. Members of CCP taking part in the study will be Pinar Akman, Dr Alexia Gaudeul, Professor Bruce Lyons and Dr Andrew Scott.
2005 Sir Derek Morris Addresses CCP
Former Chairman of the Competition Commission, Sir Derek Morris, gave a presentation to members of CCP on July 14th. Sir Derek was in Norwich to receive an honorary doctorate of civil law from the University of East Anglia, but prior to receiving it he visited CCP to give a presentation entitled 'Institutions, Law and Economics in Anti-Trust: The UK in International Context.'
2005 Heather Coles
It was with profound shock and sadness that all at the Centre for Competition Policy learned of the tragic death of CCP PhD student Heather Coles who drowned while swimming off the Irish coast on June 5th.
Heather was a popular and highly talented student who was just a few months away from completing her thesis. She had a tremendous passion for life and had a wide range of sporting and other interests outside academia. She was engaged to be married only last month.
Heather will be deeply missed by all her friends and colleagues at CCP and our thoughts are with her family at this very sad time.
2005 University of California Duo Visit CCP
Professors Meghan Busse and Florian Zettelmeyer, both of the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley will be visiting CCP from 16 to 26 May.
Whilst at CCP they will give three seminars, one to CCP, one joint between CCP and the School of Economics and another jointly between CCP and the School of Management.
2005 Peter Mollgaard Visits CCP
Professor Peter Møllgaard, Head of the Economics Department at the Copenhagen Business School, has joined CCP as a visiting scholar for a one month period.
Peter, who is an associate member of CCP, will work with Professor Morten Hviid on a paper on countervailing power and transparency during his stay. Whilst at CCP he is also working on a chapter on Information Exchange, Market Transparency and Dynamic Oligopoly for a new book, Issues in Competition Law and Policy, to be published by the American Bar Association.