Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Information Sharing and Cross-border Entry in European Banking

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Caterina Giannetti (GSBC Jena, University of Siena), Nicola Jentzsch (DIW Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin.), and Giancarlo Spagnolo (University of Rome Tor Vergata, SITE Stockholm) explain Information Sharing and Cross-border Entry in European Banking.

ABSTRACT: Information asymmetries can severely limit cross-border border expansion of banks. When a bank enters a new market, it has incomplete information about potential new clients. Such asymmetries are reduced by credit registers, which distribute financial data on bank clients. We investigate the interaction of credit registers and bank entry modes (in form of branching and M&A) by using a new set of time series cross-section data for the EU-27 countries. We study how the presence of public and private credit registers and the type of information exchanged affect bank entry modes during the period 1990-2007. Our analysis shows that the existence of both types of registers increases the share of branching in the overall entries. Additionally, the establishment of public registers reduces concentration ratios, and some banking competition indicators (such as overhead costs/assets). The introduction of a private credit burea! u, on the other hand, has no effect on concentration ratios, but positively contributes to competition (by decreasing interest rate margins). This suggests that credit registers facilitate direct entry through a reduction of information asymmetries, which in turn intensifies competition.

March 30, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Entry and competition in freight transport: the case of a prospective transalpine rail link between France and Italy

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Delphine Prady (Tolouse - Econ) and Hannes Ullrich (U Zurich and ZEW Manheim) address Entry and competition in freight transport: the case of a prospective transalpine rail link between France and Italy.

ABSTRACT: We analyze the expected effects of building a rail tunnel between Lyon and Turin on i) the market shares of the established and the new suppliers, and ii) consumer surplus. The prospective project consists of a 53km rail tunnel providing freight shippers with a new alpine path. We calibrate an equilibrium model where freight shippers choose a mode and alpine path to ship goods from a given origin to a given destination. Freight carriers strategically set prices for the differentiated products they supply. Deriving the market equilibrium, we simulate the entry of a quality-improved product and test its competitive viability. The prospective alpine path proves both competitive and welfare-enhancing on the regional market, loses its competitive edge on the wider North-South market, and leads to a modal shift on the West-East market. We argue that the new infrastructure is only one tool out of a global modal shift-oriented p! olicy toolbox.

March 30, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mathematical Properties of a Combined Cournot-Stackelberg model

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Fabio Tramontana (Department of Economics, University of Ancona, Italy), Laura Gardini (Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods, University of Urbino, Italy), and Tönu Puu (CERUM, Umeå University) explore Mathematical Properties of a Combined Cournot-Stackelberg model.

ABSTRACT: The object of this work is to perform the global analysis of a new duopoly model which couples the two points of view of Cournot and Stackelberg. The Cournot model is assumed with isoelastic demand function and unit costs. The coupling leads to discontinuous reaction functions, whose bifurcations, mainly border collision bifurcations, are investigates as well as the global structure of the basins of attraction. In particular, new properties are shown, associated with the introduction of horizontal branches, which differ significantly when the constant value is zero or positive and small. The good behavior of the model with positive constant is proved, leading to stable cycles of any period.

March 30, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Access Regulation, Financial Structure and Investment in Vertically Integrated Utilities:Evidence from EU Telecoms

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Carlo Cambini (Politecnico di Torino and FEEM) and Laura Rondi (Politecnico di Torino and FEEM) discuss Access Regulation, Financial Structure and Investment in Vertically Integrated Utilities:Evidence from EU Telecoms.

ABSTRACT: We examine theoretically and empirically the relationship between access regulation, financial structure and investment decisions in network industries, analyzing if financial variables can be used as a strategic device to influence the regulator’s price setting decisions. Using a panel of 15 EU Public Telecommunication Operators (PTOs) over the period 1994-2005, we first investigate the determinants of regulated prices (both wholesale and retail), firm financial structure and investment, and then test the relationship between leverage, regulated charges and firm’s investment. However, our model suggests that if leverage influences the regulated access charges, then it will also impact competition in the downstream segment. Therefore, we also investigate the impact of the PTO’s leverage on market competition. Our results show that leverage positively affects regulated rates, as well as the PTOs’ investment rate, ! as predicted by Spiegel and Spulber (1994). Moreover, higher leverage also leads to higher access charges and an increase in leverage is followed by a decrease in the number of competitors and by an increase of the incumbent’s market share. This suggests that the strategic use of debt to discipline the regulator’s lack of commitment within a vertically integrated network industry may somewhat impair or delay competition in the retail segment, but has a favorable counterpart in mitigating the underinvestment problem.

March 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Health Insurance Competition in Germany - The Role of Advertising

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Bettina Becker (Department of Economics, Loughborough University) and Silke Uebelmesser (CES, University of Munich) explore Health Insurance Competition in Germany - The Role of Advertising.

ABSTRACT: In the 1990s, competition among health insurance funds (‘sickness funds’) was introduced in Germany. As one means of competition, free choice of initial health funds and subsequent switching between them was made available to all insured. Since then, the number of funds has decreased substantially, and funds have had to engage in competitive strategies to remain in the market. In this paper, we want to analyse the funds’ advertising activities in the face of the changed competitive environment. This has not been possible to date due to a lack of data. We use two new datasets to get a first insight into the potential effects of competition on funds’ advertising strategies; one of the volume and cost of advertisements and one of their contents. Our results suggest that competition has been associated with an increase in the amount of advertising. As to the adverts themselves, we find that there was a decrease in th! e share of advertisements of a ‘general’ content in favour of advertisements of a more ‘fund-specific’ content. The data therefore indicate that once the market was open to switching of funds by the insured, funds’ advertising efforts changed to differentiating their own perceived strengths from those of competitor funds. These observations allow us to draw some tentative conclusions about the relevance of (attempts of) risk selection by health funds via advertisements and about the general success of the pro-competitive legislation.

March 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

58th Antitrust Law Spring Meeting - There is Still Time to Register

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

58th Antitrust Law Spring Meeting
ABA Antitrust Section

JW Marriott Hotel and The National Press Club
Washington, DC
April 21-23, 2010

A. Register
Cut-off Date: March 31, 2010
A variety of methods of registration are available for your convenience. We encourage
you to register by March 31, 2010. Those registered by this date will be included in the
Roster of Attendees posted on the conference site and will have access to the course
materials prior to the conference.

Spring Meeting 2010

We hope you are planning to be in Washington for the 58th ABA Section of Antitrust Law Annual Spring Meeting. The conference has long been the best-attended and most comprehensive review of developments in antitrust and consumer protection law available anywhere.

On the agenda are cutting-edge antitrust and consumer protection issues featuring a faculty that includes leading antitrust lawyers from the U.S. and non-U.S. enforcement agencies, corporate law departments and law firms, as well as economists and academics. There will be a track for international sessions, another for litigation, and, for the first time, a track for consumer protection/privacy sessions. Ethics credits will also be available.

Wednesday highlights include:

  • Fundamentals of antitrust, consumer protection and antitrust economics.
  • Breakfast with the Deputy Assistant Attorney Generals of the US Department of Justice
  • The Spring Luncheon (seating is limited) followed by a luncheon program: Innovation, Antitrust and the Big Picture presented by Richard Rapp.
  • Committee Connection Welcome Reception where all can visit with the leaders of the committees that do the Section’s work

Thursday highlights include:

  • Breakfast with the State Antitrust Enforcers
  • The Chair’s Showcase
  • A mock jury trial demonstrating the deliberations of the mock jury and offering an opportunity for questions of mock jurors, with presentations from some of the country’s most experienced antitrust litigators
  • Spring Dinner (limited availability) with guest speaker Joel I. Klein.

Friday highlights include:

  • Breakfast with the Bureau Directors from the Federal Trade Commission
  • The traditional “Roundtable Conference” in which top antitrust enforcement officials engage in a wide-ranging, spirited discussion of current “hot” topics

Throughout the Conference, high-speed internet and coffee will be available at The Bookstore. More importantly, this is the location to discover the Section of Antitrust Law publications and products or you can do so now by clicking here.

Those traveling from outside of the Washington DC area may want to secure hotel accommodations at this time. Spring Meeting rooms do tend to sell out quickly, especially at the JW Marriott Hotel.

We look forward to seeing you in April.

Spring 2009 - Section Luncheon
2009 Section Luncheon: Roundtable Discussion with Federal Court of Appeal
Judges Thomas A. Barnett, The Hon. Michael Boudin,
The Hon. Douglas H. Ginsburg, The Hon. Diane P. Wood


Spring 2009 - Mock Trial
2009 Mock Trial
Presiding Judge: The Hon. Sarah S. Vance


Spring 2009 - Enforcer's Roundtable
2009 Enforcer's Roundtable
James A. Wilson, William C. MacLeod, Roxane C. Busey,
Scott D. Hammond, Robert L. Hubbard, Commissioner Neelie Kroes,
The Hon. Jon Leibowitz

March 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mergers and sequential innovation: evidence from patent citations

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Jessica C. Stahl (Federal Reserve Board) has posted an empirical project on Mergers and sequential innovation: evidence from patent citations.

ABSTRACT: An extensive literature has investigated the effect of market structure on innovation. A persistent concern is that market structure may be endogenous to innovation. Firms may choose to merge so as to capture information spillovers or they may choose to merge so as to dampen competition in innovation. These two scenarios have very different welfare implications. This paper attempts to distinguish between the two scenarios empirically, looking at recent mergers among public companies in the United States. Using patent citation data, I find evidence that firms increase their rate of sequential innovation in the years preceding a merger, and reduce their rate of sequential innovation in the years following a merger. This suggests that mergers are motivated more by the desire to dampen competition than by the desire to capture information spillovers. I use citation-based measures of patent value to shed light on the welfare ! implications. The question is relevant for policy, as the FTC and DOJ frequently cite innovation as a reason for concern about a merger.

March 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

WSJ Op-Ed - Seeds of Antitrust Destruction: DuPont runs to the Justice Department's competition police

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

The WSJ ran an op-ed in today's paper titled "Seeds of Antitrust Destruction: DuPont runs to the Justice Department's competition police" that denounces the regulatory capture of DOJ by DuPont and other less efficient competitors in the Competition in Agriculture DOJ/Department of Agriculture hearings held earlier this month in Iowa.

March 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Happy Passover Antitrust Edition

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Tonight is the first night of Passover.  I want to wish all of our readers at the Antitrust and Competition Policy Blog a Happy Passover.  Even President Obama celebrates Passover.

What are the best Passover music videos?

Matzah Man (to the tune of Village People's Macho Man)

Who Let the Jews Out? (to the tune the Baha Men's Who Let the Dogs Out)

Best Original Music Video

20 Things to Do with Matzah

March 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New properties of the Cournot duopoly with isoelastic demand and constant unit costs

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Fabio Tramontana (Department of Economics, University of Ancona, Italy), Laura Gardini (Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods, University of Urbino, Italy), and Tönu Puu (CERUM, Umeå University) describe New properties of the Cournot duopoly with isoelastic demand and constant unit costs.

ABSTRACT: The object of the work is to perform the global analysis of the Cournot duopoly model with isoelastic demand function and unit costs, presented in Puu (1991). The bifurcation of the unique Cournot fixed point is established, which is a resonant case of the Neimark-Shacker bifurcation. New properties associated with the introduction of horizontal branches are evidenced. These properties di¤er significantly when the constant value is zero or positive and small. The good behavior of the case with positive constant is proved, leading always to positive trajectories. Also when the Cournot fixed point is unstable, stable cycles of any period may exist.

March 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Call for Papers: Searle Center Third Annual Research Symposium on Antitrust Economics and Competition Policy at Northwestern University School of Law

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

 CALL FOR PAPERS
    
       SEARLE CENTER ON LAW, REGULATION, AND ECONOMIC GROWTH:
                 THIRD ANNUAL RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM ON
             ANTITRUST ECONOMICS AND COMPETITION POLICY
    
       Friday, September 24th-Saturday, September 25th, 2010
     
The Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth is issuing a call for original research papers to be presented at the Third Annual Research Symposium on Antitrust Economics and Competition Policy at Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, IL. The Symposium will run from approximately 9:00 AM on Friday, September 24th to 12:30 PM on Saturday, September 25th, 2010. The Symposium is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Industrial Organization at Northwestern University.

OVERVIEW:
    
The goal of this Research Symposium is to provide a forum where leading scholars from across the country can gather together with Northwestern's own distinguished faculty to present and discuss high quality research relevant to antitrust economics and competition policy. Both theoretical and empirical submissions are welcome. Papers in industrial organization or applied microeconomic theory that address issues relevant to antitrust policy are welcome even if they do not directly focus on particular antitrust policy issues or institutions. We hope to
involve leading thinkers from the government, non-profit, and private sector, as well as leading academics from
economics departments, business schools, law schools and public policy schools. While most of the conference will be devoted to presentation and discussion of original academic research, we also expect to schedule a small number of panels on important current topics or policy issues.    
     
FURTHER INFORMATION:
 
If you have questions about the appropriateness of your topic for the symposium, or suggestions for panel subjects, please contact:

CONTACT:       Professor William Rogerson
                           Research Director
                           Searle Center Research Project on
                           Competition, Antitrust and Regulation
Email:                wrogerson@law.northwestern.edu
     
The Symposium will feature a Keynote Dinner Address, Speaker TBA. There will be a reception, dinner and program on Friday evening. 

Paper authors will receive an honorarium of $1,000.00 to cover reasonable transportation expenses, if more than one author presents at the symposium, the honorarium will be divided equally between the presenters. Government employees and non-US residents may be reimbursed for reasonable travel expenses up to the honorarium amount.  

Authors and discussants are expected to attend and participate for the full duration of the symposium. Also, the Searle Center will make hotel reservations and pay for rooms for Thursday, September 23rd and Friday, September 24th, 2010. 
    
Papers prepared for the Research Symposium on "Antitrust Economics and Competition Policy" will be permanently hosted on the Searle Center website:
    
            http://www.law.northwestern.edu/searlecenter

Authors will be free to publish their work in other venues  (with appropriate acknowledgement of the Searle Center).
     
The conference is organized by William Rogerson, Research Director, Searle Center Research Project on Antitrust Economics and Competition Policy, and Henry N. Butler, Executive Director, Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth, Northwestern University School of Law.
     
     
RESEARCH PROPOSALS - SUBMISSION, REVIEW PROCEDURE AND TIMELINE:
    
     Research Proposals should include an abstract (300 words
     maximum) and c.v.
    
     Proposal Submission Deadline:  To ensure that attachments
     get through, proposals for the conference should be
     submitted to both of the following email addresses:
    
     Email:       searlecenter@law.northwestern.edu
     Email:       d-gundersen@law.northwestern.edu
    
     by April 30th, 2010.  
     
     Notification Deadline:  Research Proposals will be reviewed
     by a three-member committee. Authors will be notified of
     the committee's decisions by June 1st, 2010. 
    
     Discussion Draft Deadline:  Papers suitable for distribution
     to discussants and other conference participants must be
     received by September 1, 2010.
    
     Revision Deadline:  November 1, 2010. Upon revision in
     response to comments received at the symposium, papers will
     be permanently hosted on the Searle Center website.
    
     Potential Discussants or panel members should send a
     message indicating their interest to:
    
     Email:      searlecenter@law.northwestern.edu
    
     by June 1st, 2010.
    
     The Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth
     at Northwestern University School of Law was established in
     2006 to research how government regulation and
     interpretation of laws and regulations by the courts affect
     business and economic growth. Information on the Searle
     Center's activities may be found at:
    
            http://www.law.northwestern.edu/searlecenter
    

March 28, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)