Nobel voor economie voor Jean Tirole

Nieuws | de redactie
13 oktober 2014 | De Franse econoom Jean Tirole uit Toulouse krijgt de Nobelprijs voor zijn werk over het temmen van grote bedrijven. Deze oud-student van de École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées analyseert als speltheoreticus de mooie en de "dark sides" van het succes van firma's die hele grote spelers een oligopolisten worden.

Het Nobelcomité en de Zweedse Rijksbank vertellen over hun motieven Tirole te bekronen: “Many industries are dominated by a small number of large firms or a single monopoly. Left unregulated, such markets often produce socially undesirable results – prices higher than those motivated by costs, or unproductive firms that survive by blocking the entry of new and more productive ones.

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From the mid-1980s and onwards, Jean Tirole has breathed new life into research on such market failures. His analysis of firms with market power provides a unified theory with a strong bearing on central policy questions: how should the government deal with mergers or cartels, and how should it regulate monopolies?

Before Tirole, researchers and policymakers sought general principles for all industries. They advocated simple policy rules, such as capping prices for monopolists and prohibiting cooperation between competitors, while permitting cooperation between firms with different positions in the value chain.

Meer kwaad dan goed

Tirole showed theoretically that such rules may work well in certain conditions, but do more harm than good in others. Price caps can provide dominant firms with strong motives to reduce costs – a good thing for society – but may also permit excessive profits – a bad thing for society. Cooperation on price setting within a market is usually harmful, but cooperation regarding patent pools can benefit everyone. The merger of a firm and its supplier may encourage innovation, but may also distort competition.

The best regulation or competition policy should therefore be carefully adapted to every industry’s specific conditions. In a series of articles and books, Jean Tirole has presented a general framework for designing such policies and applied it to a number of industries, ranging from telecommunications to banking. Drawing on these new insights, governments can better encourage powerful firms to become more productive and, at the same time, prevent them from harming competitors and customers.”

U vindt het uitgebreide CV van prof Jean Tirole hier.

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