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Water companies not built to float

Water companies are unloved by their customers and by the market. The privatisation settlement was essentially flawed. Kelda's initial proposals have now been abandoned, but a version of them deserves to succeed.

Beauty and the bidder

Should scarce assets be allocated by auction to the highest bidder or by a beauty contest of suitable applicants? From FIFA's decision on where to hold the World Cup to the ways in which European governments assign mobile phone licences, the choice of process is the economic issue of the moment.

Broken but better: Monopoly companies should not resist being dismantled by...

As Microsoft faces being broken up, Bill Gates should take heart from the lesson of history: the biggest beneficiaries of anti-trust break-ups have often been the companies being "punished".

Downside of regulation

There are many things wrong with British banks, but contrary to the Cruickshank Report, the fact that they make profits is not one of them.

Regulation by Rules or Regulation by Values

There are three ways of regulating behaviour - and of the three, regulation by values is much under-rated.

Steer clear of muddy waters

Pfizer, Warner-Lambert and American Home Products are flirting with each other - but does it really make sense to talk about a “market for pharmaceuticals”?

Mastering Strategy: Regulated Industries

Regulated businesses face almost all of the strategy issues which confront conventional firms, and some additional ones that are specific to their own environment. As deregulation spreads across Europe, the gap between those firms which handle these specific issues effectively and those which respond to regulation and regulatory changes with hostility, complacency or defeatism will widen rapidly.

Blurring of responsibility

You can be responsible to people to whom you are not accountable; and you can deal with interlocking and conflicting responsibilities. Why do so many thoughtful people fail to realise this?

Ticket touts

As All England Club strives once more to foil ticket touts, the professional economist views the idea of the “just price” with patronising and detached amusement. But is he right?

Why regulate securities?

In this talk, John describes some of the differences between an economic approach to regulation - concerned with indentifying market failures - and how markets mechanisms can be best adapted to deal with them. He contrasts this with the legal style of regulation which has been the historic basis of monitoring financial services. The conclusion is that we might manage our financial services better if, in inventing the regulation, the role of economists were greater.

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