Hertford College, Oxford
Sharon Darcy, Director, Sustainability First
'Regulation and public interest outcomes in energy and water: moving beyond compliance and towards a sustainable ‘licence to operate’ for a disrupted world'
By invitation. If you would like to be on the invitation list for seminars and other events, please email us
Merton College, Oxford
This year’s conference will have a single theme: the use of evidence in decisions taken by regulatory agencies and competition law enforcement bodies. It is motivated by an apparent paradox. We likely have greater detailed knowledge that ever before about the cognitive processes at work in decision making, at each of individual, group and organisation levels. Yet there is a general sense that actual policy decisions are less and less influenced by solid evidence.
The conference sessions will not address this paradox in general, but rather focus on the state of play for those: /p>
- entrusted with regulatory or competition law enforcement powers,
- engaged in and affected by the relevant processes, or
- specialised in analysing regulatory/competition decisions and their contexts.
Speakers and further details TBC. Expressions of interest welcome. Please contact seminars(at)rpieurope.org
One Great George Street, London
Based on accumulated knowledge and experience, the conference examined the features of a number of the major pathologies that can have adverse effects on the functioning of regulatory processes, including the signs, causes, and potential means of remediation of recurring malfunctions.
Hogan Lovells, Atlantic House, London EC1A 2FG
A roundtable discussion with contributions from
- Professor Robert Hahn, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford
- Cathryn Ross, Ofwat
- Tony Ballance, Severn Trent Water
- Maxine Frerk, Grid Edge Policy
We were very grateful to Hogan Lovells for hosting this seminar.
This year's conference occurred in a period of great disturbance and volatility that poses multiple challenges, not only to the ways in which competition and regulatory policies are conducted, but also, more fundamentally, to the aims, principles, and institutional structures that have characterised these policies over recent decades.
Presentations from the conference are available here.
One Great George Street, London
The general theme of the day was an examination of the ways in which the conduct of public policy can become disordered over time. A programme note explaining the motivation for the chosen theme, raising questions and elaborating on one or two of the issues to be covered is available here
Please also see the full programme for the day.
“Alternative wider European structures of cooperation”
Jonathan Faull, discussant
We were very grateful to Hogan Lovells for hosting this seminar.
This year’s conference took a retrospective look at the evolution of regulatory and competition policy over the past 25+ years, asking: what has worked well, what hasn’t worked well, and what have we learned from it all?
The RPI was grateful for sponsorship from Linklaters for this conference.
The following papers are now available to download:
- "Twenty-five years of regulation; Water services" (Ian Byatt)
- "Better to travel hopefully than to arrive? The reform of UK competition law 1991-2016" (Peter Freeman)
- "Emerging institutional weaknesses in US regulation" (Mark Jamison)
- "The early stages of liberalisation: the case of gas" (Eileen Marshall)
- "The energy restaurant at the (other) end of the universe" (John Pierce)
- "Benchmarking: The lessons for regulatory procedure" (Graham Shuttleworth)
- "A note on airports" (David Starkie)
The gathering took a broad look at market and regulatory governance issues, with the focus on the institutional arrangements for the making of relevant decisions rather than on any particular decisions that have or might be taken.
Platform speakers and chairs were:
- David Gray, GEMA
- Bridget Rosewell, NIC
- Richard Price, UKRN presentation
- Peter Freeman, CAT
- George Yarrow, RPI presentation
- Mary Starks, FCA presentation
- John Swift QC
- Deidre Hutton, CAA presentation
- John Wotton, CMA presentation
- Jenny Block, Pinsent Masons
- Martin Crouch, Ofgem presentation
- Cathryn Ross, Ofwat presentation
The RPI’s annual competition conference was convened as a symposium this year, with fewer platform speakers few Power Point projections, and more discussion and dialogue. For that reason, we will not be publishing presentations from the conference. We are very pleased, however, that Steve Smith has provided us the text for his Zeeman lecture. You can read the full speech here. The full programme for the conference is also available.
“Ordoliberalism and timelessness of Article 82”
Competition Policy Conferences
Occasional conferences & seminars
In December 2017 the RPI published "Brexit and the single market revisted" by George Yarrow as an Essay in Regulation, New Series.
George Yarrow's Zeeman Lecture given at the September 2017 conference has been published as Brexit and the political economy of regulation" and is available for download.
The EEA agreement explained, a new paper by Yarrow and Yarrow was published 14 March 2017: The European Economic Area Agreement: A short introduction, Studies in Regulation New Series 7.1, by Yarrow and Yarrow.
A new paper has just been published in the Letters and Notes series: Reforms to water regulation in Victoria by Euan Morton and Martin van Bueren, March 2017.
An RPI paper on Energy and Environmental Regulation by George Yarrow, assisted by Philip Davies was published on 7 March 2017 by the Australian Energy Market Commission and is available here
A new paper in the Studies in Regulation series, "The market for residency in Fabellia: a quick introduction", by George Yarrow, was published in September 2016.
The RPI has published a working paper, "Brexit and the Single Market" by George Yarrow. You can download a pdf version of the paper, **Final** here
Presentations from the 2016 Westminster conference are available here
The RPI has published a paper about NHS procurement of enteral feeds, October 2015.
Steve Smith's Zeeman Lecture The use and abuse of the notion of effective competition: Carroll, Orwell and McCarthy revisted?" is available as a pdf.
George Yarrow has filed a short submission on the CMA's Summary of Provisional Findings Report and Notice of Possible Remedies. A pdf version of the submission is available here.
In the Letters and Notes series: Privatisation and untoward consequences in water services: the regulator's role", Ian Byatt, October 2015.
Presentations from the 2014 Competition Conference are now available.
Former energy regulators have made a joint submission to the Competition and Markets Authority in relation to its current investigation of energy markets. You can read the submission here
The OFT's Higher Education Report: Could do better, Suzanne Rab, and Heuristics and biases in regulatory decision making, George Yarrow, both in the Letters and Notes series.Presentations from the recent Westminster conference, "Coherence and Stability in Regulatory Policy" are also now available.
Other recent publications:
In the Essays in Regulation new series George Yarrow considers the widespread use of over-simplified, ‘corrupted’ economics in policymaking and offers some suggestions as to how the problem might be addressed: Dysfunctions in economic policymaking Part I: simple stories, complex systems and corrupted economics
In Letters and Notes, Jon Stern addresses the tendency to continue financial support for major public projects well beyond the time at which it becomes clear that further support is highly inefficient: UK Renewables Demonstration Projects: Who Pulls the Plug?
In a new paper in the RPI's Studies in Regulation series, Professor Stephen Littlechild outlines his concerns about the proposed interpretation of the competition assessment framework for the retail energy sector.
At the end of last year the RPI published two papers in the 'Letters and Notes in Regulation' series: The impact of UK shale gas development on gas prices by George Yarrow and Why airports can face price-elastic demand: margins, lumpiness and leveraged passenger losses by David Starkie and George Yarrow.
Regina Finn and Simon Less outline different forms of regulatory capture in Capture of independent sectoral regulators, an earlier publication in the 'Letters and Notes on Regulation' series.
In Security of electricity supply: is a Capacity Market the answer?, Dr Nigel Evans assesses proposals for the introduction of a ‘Capacity Market’ into wholesale electricity trading arrangements.
See the full list of Letters and Notes in Regulation.
In 2013 the RPI was commissioned by the Legal Services Board to undertake a study on "Understanding the barriers to entry, exit and changes to the structure of regulated legal firms". The final report presented to the LSB and Law Society, and the executive summary are now available.
Previously RPI chairman George Yarrow submitted brief note in response to the MoJ's call for evidence in the context of its review of legal services regulation.
In 2012 the RPI was commissioned by the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) to assess the economic significance of the professional legal services sector in the European Union. The report, published in late 2012, further develops some of the material of an earlier report for the Legal Services Board, and contains a critique of existing 'econometric' work on the economic contribution of legal services. The paper was referenced in Commissioner Viviane Reding's address to the recent plenary session of the CCBE.
The slides from George Yarrow's 2013 Beesley lecture, Alternatives to wooden headedness: (much) less costly ways of regulating carbon emissions are available here. See also background and related reading.
Please see the RPI response, September 2013.
Many presentations from last year's Westminster conference are available.
The Expert Panel final report for Australia’s Standing Council on Energy and Resources may be of interest to those concerned with issues surrounding reviews of regulatory decision making; see also the Standing Council on Energy Resources website.