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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.
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".
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.
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.