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This roundtable examined the links between competition policy and energy security, with a focus on natural gas. The discussion began by addressing the questions of the meaning and importance of energy security; and the determinants of energy security, particularly as they relate to competition policy. It continued in dealing with gas supply, transportation, and distribution, addressing five aspects that relate to different aspects
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This roundtable addressed the economics, practice, and policy of vertical merger enforcement. It explored the state of research on vertical mergers and the practical strategies, difficulties, and successes of vertical merger enforcement by competition agencies.
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Competition can improve the functioning of the retail banking sector without harming prudential regulation. Customer mobility and choice are essential to stimulate banking competition; credit ratings and easy, low-cost transaction costs for switching are crucial for promoting customer mobility.
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Regulation of the legal professions, including self-regulation, typically involves many restrictions on entry and professional conduct. Certain restrictions may be a remedy to market failures and may also be based on distributional or paternalistic motives. But other restrictions can be based on rent-seeking and achieve cartel-like effects. The major policy challenge is to identify and remove the restrictions which are unnecessary or
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This roundtable addressed how to define entry barriers, whether a precise definition is really required, how various types of barriers affect the likelihood, timing, and extent of entry, and how competition agencies assess entry conditions.
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These Best Practices aim to identify safeguards that member countries should consider applying when they authorise competition authorities to exchange confidential information in cartel investigations.
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Individual sanctions can be an important tool in the fight against cartels, as corporate fines are almost never sufficiently high to be an optimal deterrent. A country’s decision whether to provide for criminal sanctions depends on several factors, such as the cultural and legal environment and the competition authority’s resources. If a country provides for criminal sanctions, relatively short prison sentences appear to be the most
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Universal service obligations are common in many of the infrastructure sectors. The obligations are often cited as a justification for limiting entry of new providers because the new providers would cherry-pick the high profit customers who provide the basis for subsidisation of another group of customers. When obligations are beneficial, there are a number of policy traps that can be encountered. Obligations are often not
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The introduction of greater competition in regulated sectors has required establishing new regulators or seriously rethinking what existing regulators were doing, bringing to the fore important questions concerning the proper relationship between sector specific regulators and economy-wide competition agencies. On the one hand, competition agencies have a comparative advantage over regulators when it comes to ensuring that