Seven new research projects focusing on competition

Press release

How are prices affected once a cartel has been exposed? This question, and many others, will now be subject to research. The Swedish Competition Authority has distributed this year’s research grants for studies focusing on competition and public procurement.

One of the Competition Authority’s tasks is to initiate and fund research in the fields of competition and public procurement. This year, a total of about SEK 10 million has been distributed to seven new projects and ten projects already under way.

Professor Ulf Bernitz of the Stockholm University Faculty of Law is granted funding for research into the rights of the individual in connection with competition investigations. Since the sanctions against violations of the competition rules have now been tightened up, Bernitz wants to examine how this affects the position and rights of the individual.

Public services in private hands

A growing number of public services are now being run by private actors in competition. Professor Tom Madell of the Department of Law at Umeå University, has been granted funding to research this development. The aim is to help bring about a more cohesive legal arrangement between three governing levels: the EU, the central government and local governments.

Better cooperation and interaction between competition law researchers in the Nordic region. This is the aim of a network that was set up five years ago and which has previously organised a number of conferences. Professor Hans Henrik Lidgard of Lund University’s Faculty of Law has now been granted funding to organise a conference at which researchers – both established scientists and young postgraduate students – will have the opportunity to network and share experience.

Banks, risk and competition

What factors affect banks’ risk-taking and how does risk-taking influence competition? This will be considered by Jens Forssbaeck of the Lund University School of Economics and Management, who chose the theme in light of the recent financial crisis.

Giancarlo Spagnolo of the Stockholm School of Economics has been granted funding to lead experiments studying two separate dynamic markets. The research concerns the importance of companies’ reputations when bidding for public contracts, and auctions in the electricity market.

The question of how “essential facilities”– such as those that only one supplier can provide – affect competition will be studied by Michael Hellner of the Faculty of Law at Uppsala University. Comparisons will be drawn between the EU and the US.

Prices after a cartel

How prices are affected following the exposure of a cartel will be discussed by Marcus Asplund of the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. His research will be based on 13 cartels in the chemical industry uncovered and fined by the European Commission. He will also examine whether the way in which the cartel was exposed affects the effects on price, for instance when one of the companies involved reported its unlawful behaviour itself and avoided being fined as a result.

“This research helps us build up an important body of knowledge," says the Competition Authority’s Director General, Dan Sjöblom. “When competition is rendered irrelevant, or if public procurement is undertaken in the wrong way, it is the consumer and the taxpayer who lose out. So it is important to identify the underlying factors.”

For further information, please contact:
Jimmy Dominius, Press Officer, tel +46 8-700 15 80 or +46 76-542 15 80
Sten Nyberg, chief Economist, tel +46 8-700 15 57

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