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Your Weekly Digest | 18/2022

Valur Thrainsson
5 min read

Welcome to CompetitionFeed, a weekly newsletter with the most recent and relevant competition and anti-trust news, blogs and journal publications. Never miss an update. If you’d like to receive issues over email, you can sign-up here

A decades-old, failed effort by United States politicians to break the chokehold of a select few countries on the oil market has found new life as the war in Ukraine raised prices to an almost 14-year high. Read more.
The European Union’s flagship reform for tackling Big Tech platform power, the Digital Markets Act (DMA), will come into force in early 2023, Commission EVP Margrethe Vestager has said — rowing back from an earlier suggested timeframe of this fall. But she also implied that enforcements… Read more.
Stricter antitrust measures can be taken against US giant Meta, Germany's Bundeskartellamt announced on Wednesday (4 May), after similar measures were taken toward Google. Meanwhile, Germany is lobbying for stricter EU competition rules. Read more.
The European Commission has informed Apple of its preliminary view that it abused its dominant position in markets for mobile wallets on iOS devices. By limiting access to a standard technology used for contactless payments with mobile devices in stores (‘Near-Field Communication (NFC)' or ‘tap and go'), Apple restricts competition in the mobile wallets market on iOS. Read more.
Competition authorities around the world are handling a surge in more complex, global mergers, demonstrating the need for continued strong collaboration between agencies across different jurisdictions, ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb has told an international audience. Read more.
Everything had started well with the excellent Furman report, which emphasized the need to adopt an ex ante regulatory regime that would apply to Big Tech firms in the UK. That report had indeed fo… Read more.
New research observing 100 years of concentration in economic activities and investment in research and development shows that the dominance of large businesses has been increasing for at least a century and, as Marx conjectured, may be a feature of the increasingly stronger economies of scale that accompany industrial development. In recent years, one of... Read more.
A new scholarly study of economic concentration sheds further light on the flawed nature of the Neo-Brandeisian claim that the United States has a serious “competition problem” due to decades of increasing concentration and ineffective antitrust enforcement (see here and here, for example). In a recent article, economist Yueran Ma—assistant professor at the University of... Read more.
In an interview with ProMarket, Nobel laureate Oliver Hart explains why broadening our perspective on fiduciary duty beyond maximizing shareholder wealth could empower individual investors to vote for their preferred social outcomes. Will society be better or worse if Elon Musk is permitted to purchase Twitter and take it private? Some think Musk will find... Read more.
On April 8th, FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson gave a speech, posted last week to Twitter, called “Marxism and Critical Legal Studies Walk Into the FTC: Deconstructing the Worldview of the Neo-Brandeisians.” It condemned FTC Chair Lina Khan and the New Brandeisians generally for reorienting antitrust around worker harms. Read more.
Jim Dinning, Joshua Hollenberg and Mark Katz 
In February 2022, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development announced that the Canadian government was evaluating ways to improve the operation of Canada’s Competition Act (Act). The Minister said that changes would be made in multiple stages, with some initial amendments to be proposed in the following months that would have “an immediate... Read more.
Daniel P. O'Brien
In January 2022, the Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission issued a Request for Information on Merger Enforcement, seeking comment on how the agencies can modernize enforcement of antitrust laws regarding mergers. A theme in the RFI is whether current guidance underemphasizes or neglects labor market and non-price effects. This note discusses what economics tells us about these issues. Read more.
Anna Tzanaki
Minority shareholdings have been on the regulatory agenda of competition authorities for some time. Recent empirical studies, however, draw attention to a new, thought-provoking theory of harm: common ownership by institutional investors holding small, parallel equity positions in several competing firms within concentrated industries. While critical voices abound, EU and U.S. antitrust agencies closely follow these developments indicating an appetite to act. Read more.
Amanda Starc & Thomas G. Wollmann
Entry represents a fundamental threat to cartels engaged in price fixing. We study the extent and effect of this behavior in the largest price fixing case in US history, which involves generic drugmakers. To do so, we link information on the cartel’s internal operations to regulatory filings and market data. We find that collusion induces significant entry, which in turn reduces prices. However, regulatory approvals delay most entrants by 2-4 years. We then estimate a structural model to assess counterfactual policies. We find that reducing regulatory delays by just 1-2 years equates to consumer compensating variation of $597 million-$1.52 billion. Read more.
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