Thursday, September 20, 2018
ABSTRACT: The General Court (‘GC’) dismissed as inadmissible an action for annulment against a Commission inspection decision and a letter refusing to end investigative measures.
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
ABSTRACT: Price discrimination by a dominant firm between its (non-associated) customers only be an abuse if strict conditions are met, notably an impact on competition.
The Proof on the Quantification of the Damage in Assumptions of Defense of Competition. (Spanish Law)
Enrique Sanjuan, University of Malaga - Facultad de Derecho analyzes The Proof on the Quantification of the Damage in Assumptions of Defense of Competition. (Spanish Law).
ABSTRACT: In the present work, we focus on the test on the quantification of damages in cases of private actions for infringements of competition law and on the adaptation of the Spanish regulations to the Damage Directive of 2014. In the first part, we analyze the quantification of damages and the burden of proof distinguishing the cases of evidentiary burden with respect to the infringement and evidentiary burden with respect to the quantification. From there, the ordinary assumptions of those that establish some type of exceptions are discriminated. In the second part, we focus on the test on quantification and the different aspects that the latter can offer us in terms of the existence of leniency programs, resolutions of other courts, direct purchases, indirect or third-party damages, etc. The objective is to determine the existence of differences in each of the sections that we point out and the judicial criteria that should preponderate in each of them.
Marcus Asplund London Business School - Department of Economics; Göteborg University - School of Business, Economics and Law; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) asks Did the Swedish Tobacco Monopoly Set Monopoly Prices?
Abstract: Empirical evidence is scarce on whether firms set profit‐maximizing prices, as these typically depend delicately on details of difficult‐to‐observe strategic interactions. To avoid this problem, this paper provides a detailed case study of the Swedish Tobacco Monopoly's pricing with data from 1916 to 1959. Prices are found to be below those that maximize the expected net present value of profits. However, the difference between actual and optimal price diminishes over time, and towards the end of the period the two are almost indistinguishable. The net present value of actual profits is approximately 60% of what could have been obtained. Overall, the pricing patterns appear more consistent with the firm learning about demand conditions than being the result of maximization of something other than profits.
ABSTRACT: This paper aims to shed light on the economic tools, as well as the legal-economic reasoning, which are used by different European antitrust authorities to assess the allegedly anticompetitive practices of a platform operating in a two-sided market (2SM). First of all, we show that despite the flourishing literature on 2SM economics, antitrust authorities are still facing major challenges when taking decisions concerning two-sided platforms (2SPs). Secondly, we perform a cross-country, comparative study of recent competition proceedings towards the 2SP Booking.com and highlight conceptual and practical divergences among antitrust authorities which are bound by and applying a common European legislation. By concretely and thoroughly showing where the differences lie, our study contributes to identifying the issues to tackle to ensure a better harmonized implementation of measures towards 2SPs at the EU level. Finally, building on the results of our work, we propose some alternative approaches which could benefit future antitrust analyses in 2SMs.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Market Concentration, Foreign Ownership and Determinants of Bank Financial Performance: Evidence from MENA Countries
Hatem Elfeituri University of East London - Royal Docks Business School investigates Market Concentration, Foreign Ownership and Determinants of Bank Financial Performance: Evidence from MENA Countries.
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the market concentration, foreign ownership and determinants of profitability for commercial banks operating in the MENA economies over the period 1999-2012. This paper uses panel analysis via GMM estimation to examine a large sample of banks for a period that includes the recent global crisis and Arab uprising, marked by political changes, liberalisation and market transformation. Findings indicate that the SCP hypothesis is not rejected; highlighting that increased market power yields monopoly profits. The fact that the impact of market concentration is positive in MENA economies is vital evidence, at least to a certain extent that bank performance is explained by market concentration. Findings also confirm that there is a positive and significant relationship between profitability and capital adequacy, confirming that regulators and policy makers should ensure banks are well capitalised to guarantee survival and stability for MENA banks. Cost efficiency and bank size have decreased profitability of banks, and banks with foreign ownership are more profitable and perform better than state banks. Overall, the paper finds evidence of structural reforms and uncovers measures that have led to the improvement of regulation, and the implementation of frameworks which should continue to improve competitiveness within MENA banking sectors. In addition, future policy on the banking sector should take account of intervention to change the market structure and to stimulate competition.
Jeanine Miklós-Thal University of Rochester - Simon Business School and Greg Shaffer University of Rochester - Simon Business School study Input Price Discrimination by Resale Market.
ABSTRACT: This paper analyzes the drivers and welfare effects of supply contracts that discriminate between resale in different markets. In a game between a supplier and competing downstream firms that resell the supplier's input in multiple (independent or interdependent) markets, we show that, all else equal, the supplier wants to discriminate against resale in the market with more intense downstream competition. Unlike monopolistic third-degree price discrimination in final-goods markets, input price discrimination by resale market can have a positive allocation effect, which implies that welfare can rise with discrimination even if total output decreases. The output effect of input price discrimination by resale market, in turn, is shown to depend on the competitive pass-through rates and on the curvatures of the demand functions. Our insights are relevant for the policy treatment of vertical restraints on online sales.
Birgit Moritz, Martin Becker, and Dieter Schmidtchen are Measuring the Deterrent Effect of European Cartel Law Enforcement.
ABSTRACT: This article proposes a new approach to measuring the deterrent effect of cartel law enforcement by combining a game-theoretic model with Monte Carlo simulations. The game-theoretical analysis shows which type of perfect Bayesian Nash equilibria is obtained depending on the parameter setup: perfect compliance, imperfect compliance or zero compliance. For each equilibrium, we also derive the probabilities of type I (false-positive) and type II (false-negative) errors committed by the cartel authority. To account for the uncertainty and the vague knowledge concerning the model parameters, we perform Monte Carlo simulations based on parameter ranges extracted from the related literature. The simulations indicate that zero compliance dominates the picture and that the error probabilities are high for type II and negligible for type I errors. The results are fairly robust against correlation in the input parameters. Further robustness studies and interactive visualizations can be obtained with a supplemental web application.
Public Policy Forum on Coordination and Collusion in Standard Development Organizations – Governance and Antitrust Implications Thursday, October 25, 2018
Public Policy Forum on Coordination and Collusion in Standard Development Organizations – Governance and Antitrust Implications
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Top of the Hill Conference Center
Minutemen Ballroom—5th Floor
One Constitution Ave., NE
Washington, DC 20002
The Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law will host a Public Policy Forum on Coordination and Collusion in Standard Development Organizations – Governance and Antitrust Implications. This lunch-time forum event will be held at Top of the Hill in Washington D.C. (One Constitution Ave., NE, Washington DC) on Thursday, October 25, 2018 There is no registration fee for this widely attended event that is sponsored by the Searle Center.
The forum will begin with registration in the Top of the Hill Ballroom starting at 10:30 a.m. with a buffet lunch commencing at 11:45 am. Please see the full program agenda and registration instructions below.
The panel discussion will explore the proper application of antitrust law to Standard Setting Organizations (SSOs). Panelists will discuss antitrust implications of evolving forms of coordination among SSO participants, principles of good conduct in SSO governance and policy development, and the role of diversity and coordination among SSOs. The event will also feature a presentation on a forthcoming study on the governance of Standard Development Organizations and their policies on intellectual property rights.
Thursday, October 25th
10:30 a.m. Registration Check-in
11:00 Introduction and Opening Remarks
Matthew L. Spitzer, Director, Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth and Howard and Elizabeth Chapman Professor, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
11:10 "Making the Rules - The Governance of Standard Development Organizations and their Policies on Intellectual Property Rights"
(Presentation of the results of a comparative study for the European Commission)
Justus Baron, Senior Research Associate, Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Pierre Larouche, Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal
11:45 Buffet Lunch Available
12:00 Panel Discussion on Antitrust and Collusion in Standard Setting Organizations
Moderator: Justus Baron, Senior Research Associate, Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Andrew Finch, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice
David J. Kappos, Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP; former Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
Bruce Kobayashi, Director, Bureau of Economics, U.S. Federal Trade Commission; Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
Suzanne Drennon Munck, Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property, Deputy Director, Office of Policy Planning, Federal Trade Commission
To confirm your attendance please fill out the RSVP form at the following link
If you have any questions please contact us at email@example.com
A recent article in GCR on Agency economists see profits as antitrust concern has me thinking about corporate finance and M&A in a way that is distinct from IO antitrust analysis. Do higher profit margins mean that certain industries or firms have higher monopoly rents? Not necessarily.
Profit margins may mean very different things in different industries, and we would expect cross-industry differences independent of market concentration/competition. Two other issues come to mind. First, even in the same industry, net profit margins (measured simply as net income/sales) also vary with leverage -- all else equal, companies with a higher percentage of debt will have lower accounting-based profit margins (although their economic profits would not necessarily be lower). Second, companies with high accounting-based profit margins are not necessarily generating large economic rents if they regularly have a high required level of net investment. For example, a cable company or cell phone company may have to continually make large capital investments, which means that the free cash flow they actually generate for their investors may not be that large even in those cases when they have what might appear to be high profit margins.
Melissa Newham, KU Leuven; German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), Jo Seldeslachts, University of Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute, Albert Banal-Estañol, Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Department of Economics and Business (DEB); City University London - Department of Economics offer Common Ownership and Market Entry: Evidence from Pharmaceutical Industry.
ABSTRACT: Common ownership - where two firms are at least partially owned by the same investor - and its impact on product market outcomes has recently drawn a lot of attention from scholars and practitioners alike. Theoretical and empirical researchsuggests that common ownership can lead to higher prices. This paper focuses on implications for market entry. To estimate the effect of common ownership on entry decisions, we focus on the pharmaceutical industry. In particular, we consider the entry decisions of generic pharmaceutical firms into drug markets opened up by the end of regulatory protection in the US. We first provide a theoretical framework that shows that a higher level of common ownership between the brand firm (incumbent) and potential generic entrant reduces the generic's incentives to entry. We provide robust evidence for this prediction. The effect is large: a one-standard-deviation increase in common ownership decreases the probability of generic entry by 9-13%. We extend our basic theoretical framework and allow for multiple entrants. Our model shows that for sufficiently high levels of common ownership, the classical idea of entry decisions being strategic substitutes can be reversed into being strategic complements. Our empirical results provide some support for these predictions.
Monday, September 17, 2018
Price Strategies of Independent and Branded Dealers in Retail Gas Market. The Case of a Contract Reform in Spain
Pilar Cuadrado, Banco de España, Aitor Lacuesta, Banco de España, María de los Llanos Matea, Banco de España, and and F. Javier Palencia-González Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia (UNED) study Price Strategies of Independent and Branded Dealers in Retail Gas Market. The Case of a Contract Reform in Spain.
This paper analyses how the contract structure between gas stations and the wholesale operator affects price strategies. Using daily data on prices of different gas stations the paper finds that independent dealers charge lower margins than other dealers with different contracts. One potential hypothesis is that this is the case because independent stations react more to the number of competitors. We use the introduction of a discretional regional excise duty (IVMDH) on gas stations to check the reaction of markups to changes in marginal costs of the actual number of competitors. Results are consistent with the idea that regardless the type of contract all dealers react notably to the increases in relative marginal costs by decreasing average markups. We use those results to interpret the inexistent reduction in markups that followed a change in the Spanish regulation that took place in 2013 fostering competition in the retail sector. One potential interpretation is that the big increase in independent stations following the reform was not considered an increase in actual competition for most of the incumbent stations.
Market Entry, Fighting Brands and Tacit Collusion: The Case of the French Mobile Telecommunications Market
Bourreau, Marc; Sun, Yutec; Verboven, Frank study Market Entry, Fighting Brands and Tacit Collusion: The Case of the French Mobile Telecommunications Market.
ABSTRACT: We study a major new entry in the French mobile telecommunications market, followed by the introduction of fighting brands by the three incumbent firms. Using an empirical oligopoly model with differentiated products, we show that the incumbents' launch of the fighting brands can be rationalized only as a breakdown of tacit collusion. In the absence of entry the incumbents successfully colluded on restricting their product variety to avoid cannibalization; the new entry of the low-end competition made such semi-collusion more difficult to sustain because of increased business stealing incentives. Consumers gained considerably from the added variety of the new entrant and the fighting brands, and to a lesser extent from the incumbents' price response to the entry.
Haris Tabakovic, Harvard Business School and Thomas Wollmann, University of Chicago study From Revolving Doors to Regulatory Capture? Evidence from Patent Examiners.
ABSTRACT: Many regulatory agency employees are hired by the firms they regulate, creating a “revolving door” between government and the private sector. We study these transitions using detailed data from the US Patent and Trademark Office. We find that patent examiners grant significantly more patents to the firms that later hire them and that much of this leniency extends to prospective employers. These effects are strongest in years when firms are actively hiring, and these relationships hold for the intensive margin of intellectual property protection. Ultimately, this leads the agency to issue lower quality patents, which we measure in citations. Together with other supporting evidence, we argue these results are suggestive of regulatory capture.
Anne-Fleur Roos (ESHPM, Erasmus University Rotterdam); Eddy van Doorslaer (ESHPM, Erasmus University Rotterdam); Owen O'Donnell (Erasmus University Rotterdam, University of Macedonia); Erik Schutt (ESHPM, Erasmus University Rotterdam); and Marco Varkevisser (ESHPM, Erasmus University Rotterdam) ask Does price competition damage healthcare quality?
ABSTRACT: One of the reasons why regulators are hesitant about permitting price competition in healthcare markets is that it may damage quality when information is poor. Evidence on whether this fear is well-founded is scarce. We provide evidence using a reform that permitted Dutch health insurers and hospitals to freely negotiate prices for elective procedures. Unlike previous research that has relied on indicators of the quality of urgent treatments, we take advantage of the plausible absence of selection bias in our setting to identify the effect on quality of non-acute hip replacements. Using administrative data on all admissions to Dutch hospitals, we find no evidence that increased exposure to price competition reduces quality measured by readmission rates, despite the lack of publicly available information on this outcome. In fact, there is evidence of a temporary, positive impact on quality. Our estimated null effect over the full post-liberalization period is robust.
Sunday, September 16, 2018
The Sisk rankings, which rank US law faculties based on mean and median citation counts, came out last month. Many Deans and faculty members spend lots of time discussing the most impactful faculties based on the rankings. After having a conversation with a friend at another institution, I am convinced that the Sisk rankings have it (partially) wrong. While it is interesting to see which non-scholars bring down particular faculties in terms of school-wide rankings or which significant individual pickups lead to a big increase (Orin Kerr and Herb Hovenkamp, for example, this last time around), school-wide rankings do not accurately reflect the impact of a school. The rankings tend to benefit schools with smaller faculties where one or two faculty members with high citations make up for a number of less productive or inactive scholars.
I propose an alternative measurement to augment the Sisk rankings. I draw upon my NBA watching experience to explain. The biggest difference between the NBA regular season and playoffs in the NBA is largely one of a shrinking rotation. You want your better players on the floor longer because that is how you win games. Typically, but not always, your starting five players are your best players on the team and get the most minutes. Why don't we treat the faculty rankings in a similar way?
The Sisk rankings provide the top 10 most cited people of the last five years of a given faculty. Typically (and there are caveats why this is not always true), these people represent the most important scholars on a given faculty and the ones most responsible for the entire faculty's reputation. For purposes of a competitive system, we don't know by name and we don't care about the marginal professor at a given school the way we don't care about the 11th person in the rotation on the Knicks. The people who create the scholarly reputation for a school are the top performers, much the way that the most offensive value in the NBA as measured by win shares are the ones we care about the most.
It would be interesting to see what such rankings would look like. Sisk et al have this information and I would encourage them or Brian Leiter to run another comparison ranking as an appendix that uses this methodology.
Judicial Deference in Competition Law
11 October 2018, University of Warsaw, Krakowskie Przedmieście 32, Pałac Tyszkiewiczów-Potockich.
It is crucial for contemporary democracies to respond efficiently to economic and social challenges. A major role in this respect is played by administrative authorities, to whom a legislator delegates the responsibility to design and implement policies in areas that require expert knowledge, such as financial markets’ supervision, sectorial regulation in energy and telecommunication, or the protection of competition. The challenge is to build such a system that administrative authorities can undertake their tasks efficiently while guaranteeing at the same that their activities are subject to controls. An adequate shape of judicial review is crucial here. On one hand, it is necessary for the courts to play their traditional role, namely to protect the lawfulness of administrative actions and individual rights. On the other hand, one can presume that courts should not replace expert administrative authorities in the fulfilment of the tasks delegated to the later by the legislator. Against this backdrop, the conference· aims to discuss the place for judicial deference in an area of law that requires expert knowledge and involves policy questions, namely competition law.
9:00-9:10 Opening of the Conference
9:10-9:20 Introductory remarks
Maciej Bernatt, University of Warsaw
9:20-10:00 Key Note Speech
Paul Craig, Oxford University, Explaining the Foundations of Judicial Deference
10:00-11:30 Judicial Deference: General Aspects
Rob Widdershoven, University of Utrecht, Judicial Deference and the Court of Justice
Kent H. Barnett, University of Georgia, U.S., Current Debates in Deference to U.S. Administrative Agencies
Miroslava Scholten, University of Utrecht, Judicial Deference from a Broader Perspective on Controls in the System of the Rule of Law
Chair: Professor Mirosław Wyrzykowski, Judge Emeritus, Constitutional Tribunal of Poland
11:45-13:30 Judicial Deference and Competition Authorities’ Economic Assessment
Ioannis Lianos, University College London, Judicial scrutiny of economic evidence and the direction of deference
Andriani Kalintiri, City University of London, The review of the European Commission’s economic assessments by the General Court
Heike Schweitzer, Free University Berlin, Intensity of Judicial Review of Competition Authorities Economic Assessment. German Perspective
Chair: Małgorzata Modzelewska de Raad, Modzelewska&Pasnik Law Firm
14:30-16:15 Judicial Deference and Competition Authorities Fining Policy
Krystyna Kowalik-Bańczyk, Judge of the General Court, Intensity of Judicial Review of Fines in EU Competition Law
Dawid Miąsik, Judge of Polish Supreme Court, Intensity of Judicial Review of Fines in Poland
Csongor Nagy, Szeged University, Judicial Review of Fines in Hungarian Competition Law
Chair: Iwona Terlecka, Clifford Chance
16:30-18:20 Institutional Structure of Competition Authority and the Intensity of Judicial Review
Renato Nazzini, King’s College London, The European Commission’s Institutional Structure and the Intensity of Judicial Review
Katalin Cseres, University of Amsterdam, The Role of Consumers in Competition Proceedings and its Implication for Judicial Review
Maciej Bernatt, University of Warsaw, The Intensity of Judicial Review and the Competition Authority Institutional Structure, Findings from Central Europe, EU and the U.S.
David George, UK Competition and Market Authority, The Intensity of Judicial Review by CAT and the Institutional Model of UK Competition Law
Chair: Bernadeta Kasztelan-Świetlik, Gessel law firm, former vice-President of Polish Competition Authority
18:20-18:40 Summary of the Conference
Address by Spencer Waller, Loyola University Chicago
Conference is supported by:
- The conference fee to be paid at the time of enrolment. Transfer description must include your full name along with phrase ‘CARS JUDICIAL DEFERENCE CONFERENCE’. Account details: Fundacja na rzecz Wydzialu Zarzadzania UW, IBAN: PL 07 1240 2887 1111 0000 3388 7461. SWIFT: PKOPPLPW. The reduced fee applies to academics, judges, public officials/administration employees. It is fully waived in case of Phd candidates and students.
- The conference is organised in the framework of the research project ‘The Limits of Judicial Assessment in Competition Law’ (Polish National Science Centre, UMO-2014/15/D/HS5/01562).
Friday, September 14, 2018
Haizhen Lin; Ian M. McCarthy have a paper on Multimarket Contact in Health Insurance: Evidence from Medicare Advantage.
ABSTRACT: Many industries, including health insurance, are characterized by a handful of large firms that compete in multiple geographic markets. Such overlap across markets, defined as multimarket contact (MMC), may facilitate tacit collusion and thus reduce the intensity of competition. We examine the effects of MMC on health insurance prices and quality using comprehensive data on the Medicare Advantage (MA) market from 2008 through 2015. Our estimation strategy exploits two plausibly exogenous changes to MMC: 1) a merger-induced change in MMC due to consolidations in other markets; and 2) reimbursement policy changes in which benchmark rates were increased in a subset of markets, encouraging additional entry into those markets and therefore affecting MMC even in markets otherwise unaffected by the policy itself. Across a range of estimates and alternative measures of MMC, our results consistently support the mutual forbearance hypothesis, where we find that prices are significantly higher and quality significantly lower as MMC increases. These results suggest MMC as one potential channel through which cross-market mergers and acquisitions could soften competitiveness in local markets.