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  • Author: Geoffrey Parker, Georgios Petropoulos, Marshall Van Alstyne
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Platform ecosystems rely on economies of scale, data-driven economies of scope, high quality algorithmic systems, and strong network effects that frequently promote winner-takes-most markets. Some platform firms have grown rapidly and their merger and acquisition strategies have been very important factors in their growth. Big platforms’ market dominance has generated competition concerns that are difficult to assess with current merger policy tools. We examine the acquisition strategies of the five major US firms—Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft—since their inception. We discuss the main merger and acquisition theories of harm that can restrict market competition and reduce consumer welfare. To address competition concerns about acquisitions in big platform ecosystems we develop a four step proposal that incorporates: (1) a new ex-ante regulatory framework, (2) an update of the conditions under which the notification of mergers should be compulsory and the burden of proof should be reversed, (3) differential regulatory priorities in investigating horizontal versus vertical acquisitions, and (4) an update of competition enforcement tools to increase visibility into market data and trends.
  • Topic: Markets, Digital Economy, Internet, Economy, Innovation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Geoffrey Parker, Georgios Petropoulos, Marshall Van Alstyne
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Platform ecosystems rely on economies of scale, data-driven economies of scope, high-quality algorithmic systems and strong network effects that typically promote winner-take-most markets. Some platform firms have grown rapidly and their merger and acquisition strategies have been very important factors in their growth. Market dominance by big platforms has led to competition concerns that are difficult to assess with current merger policy tools. In this paper, we examine the acquisition strategies since their inception of the five major US firms – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft. We discuss the main merger and acquisition theories of harm that can restrict market competition and reduce consumer welfare. To address competition concerns arising from acquisitions in big platform ecosystems this paper sets out a four-step proposal that incorporates: (1) a new ex-ante regulatory framework, (2) an updating of the conditions under which the notification of mergers should be compulsory and the burden of proof should be reversed, (3) differential regulatory priorities in investigating horizontal versus vertical acquisitions, and (4) an updating of competition enforcement tools to increase visibility of market data and trends.
  • Topic: Markets, Regulation, Digital Economy, Economy, Business , Innovation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In our latest issue of Iqtisadi: The Middle East Economy, Paul Rivlin discusses the near and long term prospects for oil pricing, with special attention to new technologies being developed in wealthy Gulf States. In the first two months of 2021, the price of oil rose by almost 38 percent to just over $65/barrel. Was this because of rising demand, supply constraints or increased confidence? All these factors were relevant, but a glance at the OPEC basket price of oil over the past decade puts the rise in prices into perspective. At the end of February, the oil price was well below its 2011-2014 and 2018 highs both nominally terms and even more so when inflation is considered.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Markets, Oil, Science and Technology, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Evan A. Feigenbaum, Jen-Yi Hou
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Taiwan needs to look not just to the energy it needs right now but also to the energy it will need ten to twenty years from now if it is to power its future. This paper focuses on two elements of the paradigmatic transformation that are especially relevant to Taiwan’s future: (1) the rise of new energy and storage technologies, and (2) the dynamics of liquefied natural gas pricing. In particular, it looks at several ways in which new investment partnerships between Taiwan and U.S. players could bolster Taiwan’s ambitious effort to build out renewable energy as a source of industrial and residential power.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Markets, Science and Technology, Investment, Fossil Fuels
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Taiwan, United States of America
  • Author: Jens Beckert, Timur Ergen
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: This paper discusses sociological analyses of the formation and role of expectations in the economy. Recognition of the social constitution of expectations advances the understand- ing of economic action under conditions of uncertainty and helps to explain core features of modern capitalist societies. The range of applications of the analytical perspective is il- lustrated by closer examination of three core spheres of capitalist societies: consumption, investment, and innovation. To provide an idea of core challenges of the approach, three major research questions for the sociological analysis of expectations are presented.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Sociology, Capitalism, Innovation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kaliappa Kalirajan, Huong Thi Thu Tran, Yochang Liu
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This study aims to analyse the possibility and challenges of encouraging private sector investment in low-carbon energy systems in Asia, particularly across the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) member countries, and to suggest an effective policy framework that governments could apply to improve the development and dissemination of low-carbon energy goods and technologies. The research questions examined in this study are: What type of policy measures affect trade in low-carbon energy systems transition, particularly the renewable energy transition? How can investment signals and incentives be reframed to scale up private finance in renewable energy through regional cooperation? The objective is to investigate and provide several market-based feasible trade policy and investment policy tools for both national and regional markets that governments could adopt to accelerate the speed of private financing of the low-carbon energy industry, particularly the renewable energy industry.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Markets, Trade, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, East Asia, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Chin Hee Hahn, Ju Hyun Pyun
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This study examines the effects of domestic output import tariff reduction on domestic plant export dynamics and clarifies the underlying mechanism, using rich plant–product data from the Republic of Korea for 1991–2002. We find that home import liberalisation increases domestic plants’ export market participation (extensive margins), particularly for industry where markup growth is more negative during tariff reductions. However, we do not find evidence that cutting import tariffs significantly affects incumbent home exporters’ export volume (intensive margins). This study unveils a new mechanism – ‘escape competition’ to foreign markets – by showing that reducing import tariffs leads domestic firms under heightened industry competition to look for an opportunity in foreign markets via export inauguration.
  • Topic: Markets, Tariffs, Imports
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Thando Vilakazi, Stefano Ponte
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Business and Development Studies (CBDS), Copenhagen Business School
  • Abstract: Power asymmetries in value chains mean that inequalities in returns, access to key resources and share of value added are reinforced and skewed against smaller players. Policies put in place to enforce market rules and ensure fairness can be ineffective in the context of entrenched market power, lack of competition, and high levels of control by lead firms over key resources and rights – necessitating different rules of the game to change the inequalities. Under these circumstances, transformation and economic participation of marginalized groups are unlikely to be achieved, with important socio-economic and political implications. South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policies and competition laws target economic redress and inclusion of historically disadvantaged people in the ownership and control of economic activity and productive assets. BEE criteria have been embedded in a number of industry empowerment charters, a Broad-Based BEE Act and a series of codes of implementation. South Africa’s competition law is well-established and effectively implemented. Yet, the impacts of these instruments have been frustratingly limited and slow, especially in sectors where a few companies dominate. The paper draws on secondary sources and in-depth interviews with industry players in the South African Hake Deep Sea Trawl (HDST) fishery to examine the interactions between industrial fishery quota allocations by the government, BEE policy, and competition dynamics as they impact on allocation of finite access to national resource endowments. It shows that, even in one of the most regulated sectors of South Africa’s economy, large incumbents maintain a disproportionate amount of bargaining power vis-à-vis smaller players in HDST fishery, both upstream and downstream, and throughout the domestic and global value chains. We conclude that as long as rules protect incumbency, inequality will be sustained. Even where scale economies are at play, quota allocation, transformation and competition regulation should go hand in hand to facilitate the effective participation of black-owned businesses as competitors in the hake value chain.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Race, Economic Inequality, Economic Policy, Participation, Fishing, Value Chains
  • Political Geography: South Africa
  • Author: Lisa Ann Richey, Maha Rafi Atal
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Business and Development Studies (CBDS), Copenhagen Business School
  • Abstract: As the global Covid-19 pandemic spread through Europe and North America, companies raced to communicate how they were responding to the crisis. Advertising that focuses on a company’s response to humanitarian crises is hardly new. Every holiday season features a parade of brands touting their seasonal partnerships with charitable causes. Yet these exercises in “Covid-branding” struck a particular nerve with both consumers and media commentators because so many of the brands stuck to the same script.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Communications, Advertising
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: David J. Bercuson
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: When U.S. President Donald Trump was elected in 2016 on a promise to cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada risked losing the free-trade regime that it had enjoyed with the U.S. since the original U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement took effect in 1989. Those who came to Canada’s rescue, by persuading the Trump administration to eventually make a new deal, the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, were Canada’s trading partners in the United States, whose interests were threatened: Nearly two-thirds of U.S. states now have Canada as their most important trading partner. This was indicative of a long-term trade pattern of an ever-increasing closeness in trade between the U.S. and Canada. It is a pattern that started since before Confederation and in spite of not a few attempts in Canada to diversify exports away from the U.S. However, that simply cannot happen in any meaningful way: The 170-year-old pattern of Canada-U.S. trade is now so permanent as to be utterly irreversible. Since the decision by Britain to end tariff preferences for its colonies in the mid-19th century, Canada has naturally sought to penetrate the U.S. market for its exports. The desire has not always been mutual: American protectionism has, at times, hampered the export of Canadian products to the U.S., although tariff barriers have failed to stop what is a seemingly natural and, in many ways, necessary north-south flow of goods and services. Even Canadian attempts to reorient its own trade emphasis to enhance domestic east-west trade, or to expand into countries beyond the United States have made little difference. The trading relationship between Canada and the U.S. has endured through wars and in peacetime, through Republican administrations and Democratic ones. It will only continue to grow. Fantasizing about some markedly different trading future is therefore a waste of Canada’s time and energy, which should instead be expended on further penetrating the American marketplace and solidifying ties with state and local governments, local manufacturing associations, Congress and new industries. Canada should take advantage of its new trade deal with the U.S. to integrate the Canadian economy as fully into that of the U.S. as possible. There may be others like President Trump or some like him in Canada, who try to disrupt the trade relationship. That even Trump eventually was persuaded to agree to free trade with Canada is evidence, however, that an ever-closer trading relationship is simply a reality that cannot be stopped.
  • Topic: Markets, History, Trade, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America