In this short paper, Gerard Fox and George Yarrow argue that, in the context of climate change policies, the nature and significance of any potentially problematic economic externalities are functions of strategic policy choices: that is, they vary according to the particular policy strategy chosen. The traditionally identified externality – that the benefits of carbon abatement efforts by any one country are mostly enjoyed by other countries – comes from strategies that are conceptualised in terms of determining quantities (of carbon emissions or abatement), an approach to economic policy that was adopted in Soviet-style central planning. By leading to external effects that then call for difficult-to-achieve correction, in effect the quantitative planning system establishes self-created obstacles to attaining that which is desired. Science and technology policy approaches based on sharing of knowledge and know- how are shown to have very different implications for the nature and significance of any associated externalities. The development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine is given as an example of the possible, alternative, strategic approaches.
The Paper challenges the common supposition that (scarcity) rents at Heathrow airport accrue from airlines charging efficient clearing prices and instead suggests that because of oligopolistic practices, much of the rent at Heathrow is quasi-monopoly rent. It also suggests remedies that could be implemented in the short term before more runway capacity is added and that if Heathrow airlines matched the average load-factors of those at London’s other major airport, Gatwick, average fares might be as much as 5 per cent lower.
Our aim in this paper is to explain and comment on some of the principal features and implications of the European Economic Area Agreement (EEAA). A number of misunderstandings about the content and operation of the Agreement appear to have made their way into public discourse in the UK. We are concerned about the distorting effect of these, not only on public perceptions, but also potentially on the Government’s position. Our hope is that this paper may help inform a more considered debate about the UK’s Brexit destination.
In discourse following the UK referendum on 23 June 2016 significant attention has been paid
to the question What does Brexit mean? The answer seems to be straightforward: it means
UK exit from the EU, which requires UK withdrawal from the EU Treaty.
A much more important and challenging question is What next? Central to evaluation of the
options available is another question, a question about the meaning of words: What does the
expression free movement of persons mean? Put more specifically: What conditions need to
be satisfied in order to be able to say that free movement of persons has been established?
This paper considers the banking system from the respective points of view of EU monetary and competition policy, and the issues that arise when excess credit creates an asset price bubble and crash. Banks are subject to competitive pressures, but are interdependent to a higher degree than most firms. Potential competition policy responses to this combination of features could include monitoring by the monetary and competition authorities to see if a concerted practice is involved where there is excessive bank lending; making co-ordinated behaviour between competing banks subject to the normal competition law requirement that it should provide economic benefits in the real economy, and to consumers; and, if it is established that an asset price bubble and crash has resulted from a concerted practice, adjusting the overhang of debt down to the pre-bubble value of the asset.
The Customer Forum was set up in September 2011 with three aims: to work with Scottish Water on a programme of customer research; in the light of this to understand and represent customer priorities to Scottish Water and to the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS); and to seek to secure the most appropriate outcome for customers in the Strategic Review of Charges. In October 2012 the Forum was additionally asked to seek to agree a Business Plan with Scottish Water, consistent with Ministerial Objectives and with guidance notes that WICS would provide.
The competition assessment framework for the retail energy sector: some concerns about the proposed interpretation
Ofgem, OFT and CMA are presently carrying out “an assessment of how well competition in the markets for gas and electricity is serving the interests of households and small firms in Great Britain”. They intend to publish a first assessment by the end of March 2014. The outcome of Ofgem’s consumer research will follow in late spring. Ofgem, OFT and CMA will then each consider their next steps. All options remain open, including a market investigation reference.
Assessment of economic data/information/evidence in more or less any context can raise difficult issues. Compared with the testing of hypotheses and theories in the physical sciences, there is much less ability to make use of controlled, repeated/repeatable experiments; and the resulting limitations are often reinforced by the complexity of the relationships and interactions that are involved in the determination of economic outcomes. This complexity necessarily leads to high degrees of uncertainty, particularly (though by no means exclusively) uncertainty about the future.