‘Monopolization Conduct by Cartels’

The CCP Seminar Series continues on Friday 5th February 2016, as another exciting new recruit, Lily Samkharadze (CCP & NBS), makes her CCP debut with her presentation, ‘Monopolization Conduct by Cartels‘ (joint work with Robert Marshall and Leslie Marx). Lily has recently started  her new role as a Lecturer in Competition Economics at the Norwich Business School. She writes extensively in the field of competition policy and competition economics, and has also been nominated for a 2016 Antitrust Writing Award for an article in the International Journal of Industrial Organization. An abstract for Lily’s paper can be found below.


Collusion enhances profits of cartel firms, but collusive profits are reduced by the presence of rival firms outside the cartel. We construct a model in which a firm that was not invited to join, or that chose to remain outside the cartel, can potentially be eliminated through monopolization conduct by the cartel. This conduct increases profits for cartel members due to both the diminished competition and the decreased potential for secret deviations by cartel firms. Because of this latter effect, incentives for monopolization conduct are stronger for cartels that have not fully suppressed rivalry relative to those that have.

The seminar takes place from 13:00-14:00 in TPSC 2.03. Tea will be provided directly afterwards in the MBA Café (Floor 2, TPSC).

‘Unsolicited sovereign ratings and the sovereign-bank ceiling: An unintended consequence of regulatory disclosure’

We can look forward to another debut performance at the CCP Seminar Series on Friday 29th January 2016, as the magnificent Patrycja Klusak (CCP & NBS) takes the stage to present ‘Unsolicited sovereign ratings and the sovereign-bank ceiling: An unintended consequence of regulatory disclosure‘ (joint work with Rasha Alsakka and Owain ap Gwilym at Bangor University). Patrycja recently joined the Norwich Business School as a Lecturer in Banking and Finance and became a CCP Faculty Member in January 2016. Her numerous research interests include: analysing the regulatory changes to the Credit Rating Agency (CRA) industry, empirical banking and applied econometrics. An abstract for Patrycia’s paper can be found below.


This paper integrates three themes on regulation, unsolicited credit ratings, and the sovereign-bank rating ceiling. We reveal an unintended consequence of the EU rating agency disclosure rules upon rating changes, using data for S&P-rated banks in 44 countries between 2006 and 2013. The disclosure of sovereign solicitation status for 13 countries in February 2011 has an adverse effect on the ratings of intermediaries operating in these countries. The unsolicited sovereign rating status transmits risk to banks via the rating channel. The results suggest that banks bear a penalty for the solicitation status of their host sovereign’s ratings, thus revealing an unintended and adverse impact of EU regulation.

The seminar takes place from 13:00-14:00 in QUEENS 1.04. Tea will be provided directly afterwards on Floor 0 in the Elizabeth Fry Building.

‘The 10 x 8 Meter Relay: An assessment of how introducing comparative information may induce inter-group competition in energy efficiency’

The CCP Seminar Series continues on Friday 22nd January 2016, where we will be treated to a debut performance by the brilliant Mike Brock (CCP & ECO) who joined the Centre as a member in June 2015. Mike has been a Lecturer in Microeconomics at the UEA School of Economics since August 2014 and has numerous research interests, including specialist interest in the relationship between environmental assets and subjective well-being. His seminar will introduce his most recent project, ‘The 10 x 8 Meter Relay: An assessment of how introducing comparative information may induce inter-group competition in energy efficiency‘. An abstract for his seminar can be found below.


This presentation will introduce a new natural field study currently underway at UEA. The project provides weekly information to students living in Halls of Residence on their absolute and relative energy usage.  Provided at an aggregated (flat-level) degree, the motivation for this study is to decipher how and to what extent non-financial stimuli can be used to try and incite behavioural change and invite participants to consider their empirical choices and actions. The study forms part of a wider literature which seeks to assess how and why consumers can be induced into making more conscious decisions and the necessary level of persuasion and reinforcement such methods require to achieve long-lasting success.

The seminar takes place from 13:00-14:00 in the Elizabeth Fry Building, Room 01.10. Tea will be provided directly afterwards in the Elizabeth Fry Staff Room.

‘Recent Competition Policy and Law Developments in China and Hong Kong’

After a short break, the CCP Seminar Series returns in 2016 with another inspiring line-up of presentations on competition policy (you can find out more by clicking here). On Friday 8th January 2016, we are delighted to welcome Mark Williams (Asian Competition Forum and Melbourne Law School) who will be kicking-off the year with his dissection of the ‘Recent Competition Policy and Law Developments in China and Hong Kong‘. Mark is the Executive Director of the Asian Competition Forum, as well as a Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne Law School where he teaches inter alia competition law and Hong Kong company/commercial . An abstract for his seminar can be found below.


Mainland China brought the Antimonopoly Law into force in 2008. The intensity of enforcement has increased markedly in the last two years, especially in relation to business conduct within its territory as opposed to global mergers that have some effect on Chinese markets. Whilst the application of the merger rules has been relatively orthodox, there has been increasing concern about the activities of the NDRC and SAIC with regard to ‘price monopoly’ cases. Transparency and due process issues have caused considerable anxiety, especially amongst the international business community and it is noteworthy that there have been no judicial appeals against any decision of the Chinese agencies since the antitrust system became operational. In Hong Kong, which retains its separate common law -based legal system, the Competition Ordinance only became fully operational on 14 December 2015. This structurally flawed system, that has no merger control provisions save in the telco sector, and adopts a judicial enforcement model, is, necessarily, wholly untried. This seminar will concentrate on recent developments in both systems and the challenges they face to attain international credibility.

The seminar takes place from 13:00-14:00 in the Thomas Paine Study Centre, Room 1.03. Tea will be provided directly afterwards in the MBA Café (TPSC, Floor 2).

‘Trading Flexibility in Power Markets’

We are rounding off our Autumn seminar series in style on Friday 18th December, where our esteemed guest Peter Møllgaard (Copenhagen Business School) will present ‘Trading Flexibility in Power Markets‘. Peter is both a Professor of Industrial Organization and Head of the CBS Department of Economics. His main research interests lie in the application of industrial economics to competition policy, and he has published on a wide array of topics (including mergers, dominance, and damages claims). An abstract for his paper can be found below.


Due to increased amounts of renewable energy supply, power markets increasingly value flexibility, i.e., the possibility to modify generation or demand within a timescale ranging from minutes to hours in response to variability. We set up an economic model of bilateral trade between a prosumer that offers to sell flexibility to an aggregator who, in turn, resells this flexibility in a marketplace. We show that flexibility trading is welfare enhancing as long as a transaction-cost reducing technology is in place.

The seminar takes place from 13:00-14:00 in the Thomas Paine Study Centre, Room 1.03. Tea will be provided directly afterwards in the MBA Café (TPSC, Floor 2).

This is the final CCP seminar of the Autumn semester, but we will return in January 2016 with more cutting-edge commentary from the world of competition policy and regulation. You can keep up-to-date with our future seminars by visiting the designated pages on our website.

‘Reconceptualising deterrence within competition policy’

Only three more sessions remain in our Autumn seminar series, including the tantalising prospect of some distinguished guest speakers. On Friday 11th December, we are delighted to welcome back the ever-enthralling Jonathan Galloway (Newcastle Law School), who presented at our Annual Conference back in 2007. Jonathan is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Newcastle University and an expert in Competition Law. His research interests include the intersections of competition law (particularly its relationship with politics, innovation, and industrial policy), international convergence, and cooperation between competition authorities.

Jonathan will be presenting one of his current research projects, entitled ‘Reconceptualising deterrence within competition policy‘. An abstract for his paper can be found below.


Competition authorities, and the politicians who hold them to account, primarily rely upon deterrence theory in order to achieve their objective of preventing anti-competitive behaviour. Broad trends of increased severity of sanctions, particularly for cartel behaviour, are easily observable and yet it is far from clear that the deterrence led approach is effective. Heightened severity of sanctions, and heightened probability of sanction, facilitated in part through the operation of leniency, ought to prevent recidivism and also lead to lower levels of infringements as part of a successful deterrence strategy, yet there is little evidence to suggest this is taking place. Efforts to ‘double down’ on deterrence through introducing individual sanctions in jurisdictions such as the UK can be useful but are unlikely to provide a complete answer in order to prevent anti-competitive behaviour. This paper will argue that deterrence should continue to be an important driver of competition authorities’ enforcement strategy, but that it should be framed within an overarching strategy of regulatory compliance, which affords greater priority to individual accountability, and embraces insights from behavioural economics in order to foster the creation of a competition culture and so as to align the incentives between corporation and individual.

The seminar takes place from 13:00-14:00 in the Thomas Paine Study Centre, Room 1.03. Tea will be provided directly afterwards in the MBA Café (TPSC, Floor 2).

‘You: The Problem in Energy Policy’

The Autumn Seminar Series continues on Friday 4th December with the delightful Elizabeth Errington (CCP and PPL) presenting ‘You: The Problem in Energy Policy‘. Liz is a PhD student in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communications Studies, where she researches a host of issues, including energy policy, consumers and affordability. An abstract for her presentation can be found below.


The challenge of delivering affordable, sustainable and secure energy supplies continues to keep energy policy firmly on the agenda. However, despite consistent focus by practitioners and researchers the processes and results of the formulation of these policies still remains largely unknown.

Many factors ensure policy formulation generally and energy policy specifically is opaque. These include the multiple and interlinked roles of actors and policy venues, the role of an economic regulator and the activities of firms (with the associated need for commercial confidentiality). In addition to the complexity of the processes themselves, energy policy formulation is opaque due to these processes occurring largely ‘behind closed doors’.

This presentation will outline the research opportunities of using the way ‘problems’ are identified, conceptualized and represented to provide important insights into the opaque world of energy policy formulation. This will be illustrated using the initial findings from one year of a PhD study.

The findings so far? The problem is you.

The seminar will take place from 13:00-14:00 in Room 1.03 of the Thomas Paine Study Centre.

‘The Incidence of Fines on Cartel Dynamic Pricing’

Friday 27th November sees the long-awaited return of our delightful former colleague Anna Rita Bennato (Oxford Brookes University) who will be presenting ‘The Incidence of Fines on Cartel Dynamic Pricing‘, which she has co-researched with Franco Mariuzzo (ECO and CCP). An abstract for her seminar can be found below.


With Regulation 1/2003 the European Commission D-G for Competition has introduced administrative fines on corporation turnover to punish any breach of Article 101 and 102 of the Treaty. To confine obvious adverse effects of a too harsh punishment fines have been limited to a thirty per cent cap of the undertaking’s worldwide turnover (Guidelines 2006/C 210/02). However, the assessment of the gravity is made on a case-by-case basis for all types of infringement. As a general rule, fines are calculated as a proportion of the value of sales.

In this paper we study the distortion in pricing that stems from the application of fines on turnover in an environment where cartels choose their optimal pricing under uncertainty and business cycles. Our model shows how in a dynamic setting fines may resemble the effect of an ad-valorem taxation. The effect of fines on prices varies depending on the position on the cycle (expected demand growing or falling).

We test our model using 328 weekly data on the Joint Executive Committee (JEC) and the econometric methodology suggested by Borenstein and Shepard (1996). While JEC was a legal cartel, in a counterfactual exercise we simulate the effect of the cartel being detected and fined on turnover.


Anna’s presentation takes place from 13:00-14:00 in the Thomas Paine Study Centre, Room 1.03. 

‘The Affordability of Utilities’ Services in the EU: Extent, Practice and Policy’

CCP’s Autumn Seminar Series continues on Friday 13th November with our very own David Deller (CCP) evaluating ‘The Affordability of Utilities’ Services in the EU: Extent, Practice and Policy‘. The seminar is based on an extensive research project that David has undertaken with Catherine Waddams (CCP) for the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE). The findings of the project are available here, and an abstract for the seminar can be found below.


The affordability of utilities (energy, water, telecoms and transport) is a major issue on European policy agendas. This seminar reports the key findings from a recent research project into this topic conducted for the Centre on Regulation in Europe. Key results are highlighted from the most comprehensive mapping of utility affordability in the EU yet compiled and analysis of household-level expenditure data from countries including the UK, France and the Republic of Ireland. Major findings are the stark differences in expenditure shares devoted to utilities between ‘old’ and ‘new’ Member States and the pitfalls of using high-level affordability metrics to evaluate the performance of policies designed to improve utility affordability. The empirical results will be complemented by overviews of different metrics that can be used to evaluate utility affordability and the effectiveness of policies used to tackle fuel poverty.


David’s presentation takes place from 13:00-14:00 in the Thomas Paine Study Centre, Room 1.03. 

‘Endogenous antitrust enforcement and strategic cartel pricing: Experimental evidence’

The next presentation in our Autumn seminar series takes place on Friday 6th November, with the return of Carsten Crede (CCP and ECO) who will be presenting ‘Endogenous antitrust enforcement and strategic cartel pricing: Experimental evidence‘, a joint project with Liang Lu (CCP and ECO). An abstract for his presentation can be found below.


We experimentally examine the effects of endogenous antitrust enforcement, i.e. an enforcement that increases in the cartel overcharge, on cartel prices and stability. With a novel experimental design, we capture the non-profitability-related strategic effects of cartel pricing as a reaction to the endogenous punishment. By allowing self-selection of the cartel into expected low punishment, endogenous enforcement is effective when both fine and detection probability are sufficiently high. However, it may render deterrence less effective if fines are not sufficiently high, suggesting that the substitutability with respect to deterrence between fines and detection probabilities is limited. Nevertheless, both enforcement elements have welfare implications due to strategic effects: whereas high fines directly reduce cartel formation and undermine stability, high detection probabilities decrease the longevity of existing cartels and with it their economic harm.

The seminar will take place from 13:00-14:00 in the Thomas Paine Study Centre, Room 2.03. To find out about the other seminars in this series, visit the seminar pages on our website.