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The Pros and Cons of Counterfactuals

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The Swedish Competition Authority organized an international seminar in Stockholm on the 6th December 2013. Invited speakers and opponents gave their presentations on the topic: "The Pros & Cons of Counterfactuals". The former chief economist of the Swedish Competition Authority, Professor Sten Nyberg (Stockholm University), was the moderator of the event. Professor Nyberg kicked off the proceedings by stressing the importance of counterfactual analysis in instances such as the recent Telia-Sonera case as well as cautioning the audience of the caveat that a casual application of counterfactual analysis may easily lead to too many degrees of freedom (economics jargon for “too many scenarios to choose from”).

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More Pros and Cons of Merger Control

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In the book "More Pros and Cons of Merger Control", the authors discuss the latest research on merger control and ex-post evaluation of merger decisions. The pros and cons of merger control were high on the agenda ten years ago when we released the first book in the pros and cons series. Some of the issues discussed in the 2002 volume such as expost evaluation of merger control decisions are still debated and developed in this volume in both the contributions by Duso and Metha. Other topics are new like the increased use of screening tools like UPP as is discussed in the contribution by Sørgard. How economics have come to play a major role in merger proceedings are the topic of Hildebrand’s contribution. The proliferation of merger control over the years is remarkable

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The Pros and Cons of Consumer Protection

Resumé

Consumer welfare is a central objective for both consumer protection and competition policy where the former targets the consumer and the latter market performance. These policy areas complement each other but the difference in approach can also result in conflicting policies, and a need for coordination. The conference The Pros & Cons of Consumer Protection, focused on consumer protection, competition policy and the implications of recent developments in behavioral economics, as well as analyses based on information economics, for these policy areas.

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The Cost of Different Goals of Public Procurement

Resumé

What should be the goal of public procurement? It was on this theme that the Swedish Competition Authority arranged the conference The Cost of Different Goals of Public Procurement, in Stockholm August 31 2011. The Swedish Competition Authority invited leading international experts in the field of procurement to discuss the goals that ought to govern public procurement in the future, at a well attended conference with participants from 24 countries. The speakers brought different perspectives to the discussion, including economics, law and organizational theory as well as the inside perspective of centrally placed actors in the reform process. This volume contains background papers for four of the presentations at the conference and provides a good overview of the issues covered at the conference, although it cannot capture the lively and inspiring debate at the event itself.

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The Pros and Cons of Standard Setting

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In the book the authors discuss how different standards may represent an obstacle to functioning competition. However, standards may simultaneously be an effective tool to guarantee diversity and innovations and thus strengthen competition. Standard setting has become an area of disputes where firms view the same set of facts very differently depending on their incentives. Designing adequate competition rules that in an easy way handles these issues is hard. Competition authorities are thus helped by a deeper knowledge of the incentive structures in standards setting organisations. This volume is devoted to exploring the pros and cons of standard setting

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The Pros and Cons of competition in/by the Publich Sector

Resumé

Public intervention in markets can often result in distortion of competition and act as a barrier to market entry and expansion. A key difference between private and public entities is that the latter cannot be declared bankrupt and public entities also benefit from being financed through tax funding. Consequently, they operate on the market under different conditions and their mere presence on the market give rise to inevitable market distortions

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The Pros and Cons of Vertical Restraints

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Do consumers stand to gain or lose when a manufacturer determines prices all the way through to the retail stage? Not even the researchers can agree on the answer. The Competition Authority contributed to the debate on this controversial issue by organising the seminar "The Pros and Cons of vertical restraints".

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The Pros and Cons of High Prices

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Could there be any pros of high prices? The question is as natural as the question we got four years ago when we published The Pros and Cons of Low Prices – could there be any cons of low prices? These are questions competition authorities get from the public from time to other. It is a somewhat hard pedagogical task to answer them. The answer to both questions is yes, there are indeed pros of high prices and cons of low prices. This volume is devoted to exploring the pros and cons of high prices

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The Pros and Cons of Information Sharing

Resumé

Information sharing between competing companies may benefit the consumer. There are some information sharing activities that are not good for the consumer though, such as price agreements and market sharing etc. "The Pros and Cons of Information Sharing" tackles these issues and how the competition authorities should act in the light of recent research.

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