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Your Weekly Digest | Issue 225

Valur Thrainsson
5 min read

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Here below, you find the most recent and relevant competition and anti-trust news, blogs and journal publications over the last week.

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Biden needs ‘clean break’ on antitrust after FTC’s Google failure, activists say - POLITICO

The groups accused Washington’s Obama-era antitrust enforcers of displaying poor judgment and failing to grasp the threat that the search giant posed to competition.

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Top Obama lawyer being vetted for antitrust post - POLITICO

Sallet’s selection for DOJ antitrust chief or FTC chair would signal Biden intends to continue aggressive pursuit of Google, Facebook and other tech giants.

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In his annual address to Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA), ACCC Chair Rod Sims announced the ACCC’s compliance and enforcement priorities for 2021. This annual review of ACCC priorities for the next 12 months has become a vital component of the ACCC’s strategic approach to compliance and enforcement work and its delivery, as well as providing transparency and accountability. Read more.
The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division today issued the 2021 edition of its annual Spring Newsletter. The newsletter highlights the division’s recent activities and successes on civil and criminal enforcement, diversity initiatives, international cooperation, and competition advocacy. The newsletter also includes a message from Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard Powers. Read more.
Politico has released a cache of confidential Federal Trade Commission (FTC) documents in connection with a series of articles on the commission’s antitrust probe into Google Search a decade ago. The headline of the first piece in the series argues the FTC “fumbled the future” by failing to follow through on staff recommendations to pursue ... Read more.
In 2016, a public initiative was launched in Switzerland, requesting amendments to the Cartel Act in order to enforce non-discriminatory procurement of goods and services abroad by Swiss purchasers. Furthermore, the initiative requested the introduction of rules against geo-blocking in the Unfair Competition Act. This so-called “Fair-Price Initiative” is backed by various consumer, hotel, gastronomy... Read more.
The Court of Justice has delivered an important set of judgments in the Slovak Telekom and Lundbeck cases (see in particular here and here). As widely anticipated, all appeals have been dismissed. Read more.
The U.S. competition agencies issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that advises of proposed updates to the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) notification rules. Bloomberg celebrated this news as an indication that the FTC is about to scrutinize common-ownership positions of index funds, which have aroused antitrust concerns in recent years.[1] Insiders from the agency also suggested I should view the NPRM as a success of the common ownership research agenda to date. After reviewing the proposed rules, I am a bit more cautious in my optimism than previous commentators about the rule change, and indeed worried about particular aspects of it. In this post, I explain why. Read more.
While “green” antitrust is gaining momentum, its key premise finds little or no ground in economics. “Cartel greenwashing” lurks. Read more.
Laura Whyatt, Hamish Saunders
Two judgments of the English Courts have recently considered the extent to which statements made in the course of EU proceedings can be relied upon by claimants and defendants in damages actions before the national courts of Member States. In Servier, in which the National Health Service is suing the drug manufacturer for delaying the entry of cheaper generic versions of the heart drug Perindopril to the market, the UK Supreme Court (‘Supreme Court’) held that factual findings of the General Court of the European Union (‘General Court’) cannot be relied upon in a different legal context in subsequent litigation. Read more.
Philippe Aghion, Antonin Bergeaud and John Van Reenen
Does regulation affect the pace and nature of innovation and if so, by how much? We build a tractable and quantifiable endogenous growth model with size-contingent regulations. We apply this to population administrative firm panel data from France, where many labor regulations apply to firms with 50 or more employees. Read more.
Louis Kaplow
The flow of resources across sectors to their best use, with concomitant entry and exit, is central to the functioning and welfare properties of a market economy. Nevertheless, most industrial organization research, including applications to competition policy, undertakes partial equilibrium analysis in a single sector, often with a fixed number of firms. This article examines competition policy in a simple, multi-sector, general equilibrium model with free entry and exit. Even partial equilibrium analysis yields some lessons, such as that accounting for free entry often makes strengthening competition policy more rather than less attractive. When admitting flows between sectors, familiar prescriptions readily reverse. Read more.
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