Dr Christian Jaag is a co-founder and counsel at Swiss Economics. He provides economic support to corporate and public-sector clients across the litigation/arbitration spectrum in commercial disputes, regulatory matters and competition cases, including financial valuation and damages quantification. He works closely with clients and their legal advisers at all stages of a case, from collecting data, drafting first arguments and writing full expert reports through to testimony in front of competition authorities, regulatory bodies and courts.
What inspired you to pursue a career as an economist?
When I started my undergraduate studies, I was still undecided between a career in law or economics. In the end, it was the more quantitative orientation of economics that was decisive for my choice. I have no regrets, in particular as we often work with lawyers in interdisciplinary projects.
Recently, you published an article called “The more economic approach to predatory pricing”. What presents the greatest challenge for an economist when doing predatory pricing analysis?
Most theories of rational and harmful predation do not require dominance, while non-dominant firms might have strong incentives for predatory pricing in order to become dominant. As dominance and the economic rationality of predation are often mutually exclusive, economic analysis makes the detection of harmful predation unlikely. In addition, effects of predatory pricing are hard to assess because they occur with delay. As a result, flexible rules of reason rooted in economic theory and an analysis of economic effects might result in a systematic under-enforcement of rules against economically harmful predation.
Why did you decide to co-found your own economic consulting firm?
The outlook to pursue my own projects and work in various industry sectors, together with my entrepreneurial spirit, were strong motivations to leave my previous role as an internal corporate adviser and found my own firm.
Do you think the European Commission’s more aggressive fine regime will be an effective deterrent to anticompetitive practice?
As an economist, I firmly believe in incentives. In my experience, not only aggressive fines, but also potential damage claims by victims of anticompetitive practices, exert a strong disciplinary effect on firms.
In what ways does Swiss Economics distinguish itself from competitors in the market?
First, we are committed to hiring the best economists in the market. We have one of the largest shares – more than 50 per cent – of PhD economists among top economic consultancies. Several of our staff hold lecturing positions at leading Swiss universities, and everybody is encouraged to regularly contribute to international conferences and publish in academic journals. We try to maintain a diverse mix of experiences and personalities in the team. Currently, we employ economists with backgrounds in academia, consulting and government careers. This combination of academic excellence and diversity translates into the creative and rigorous answers our clients expect from us.
Second, it is of utmost importance to us to provide our clients with the highest quality – both in deliverables and in service levels. As a relatively small boutique firm, we are highly flexible and able to offer our clients truly tailored work. We keep our processes lean and efficient to ensure our consultants always have the capacity and resources required to provide our clients with the outstanding level of service they deserve.
How do you think the increasingly prominent role economists are playing in competition investigations will impact on practice in the future?
An increasingly economic approach to competition law will require even closer cooperation between lawyers and economists in interdisciplinary teams and at all stages of a case. Strong team players will have an advantage.
As co-founder of the firm, what are your priorities for its growth and development?
First, for our team to grow into its full potential, we believe that we must continue to be a first choice employer for the brightest and most ambitious minds in economics. For this purpose, we abandoned strict hierarchies and rigid career paths at Swiss Economics. Instead, we started to foster an environment that allows for professional development, which is specific to personal goals and individual strengths. The growth of the firm follows the growth of its employees.
Second, strong and lasting relationships with our clients and partners are key to our growth and development. We are not only aiming for short-term success, but looking to create long-term value for our clients. As such, it is the best client outcome that will continue to be our main goal in any of our projects.
What advice would you give to younger economists hoping to one day be in your position?
Work hard; be open to new opportunities; take risks; don’t be afraid of making mistakes, but learn from them!
Christian Jaag is lauded as “one of the very best economists active today”, and earns praise for his ability “to convey and explain highly complex matters to a broad range of audiences”.
Christian Jaag is a co-founder and counsel at Swiss Economics.
He advises corporate and public-sector clients with respect to all issues related to competition and regulation. He provides economic support across the litigation/arbitration spectrum in commercial disputes, regulatory matters and competition cases including financial valuation and damages quantification. He works closely with clients and their legal advisers at all stages of a case, from drafting first arguments, writing full expert reports through to testimony in front of competition authorities, regulatory bodies and courts.
Christian Jaag is also a lecturer in economics and management at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. In addition, he is a member of the scientific committee of the Florence Competition Programme at the European University Institute.
Born in 1976, Christian Jaag was educated at the University of St Gallen, ESCP Europe and the Study Center Gerzensee (lic oec HSG, 2001; PhD in economics and finance, 2006). He stayed as visiting scholar at the economics department of Rutgers University.
He is the author of numerous academic and applied articles on public economics, industrial organisation, regulatory economics as well as law and economics.
Christian Jaag speaks German, English and French.
Swiss Economics is an economic consultancy firm based in Zurich. Founded in 2008, it offers a broad range of economic consultancy and data analytics services to international corporate and public-sector clients in competition, regulation, economic policy and (transfer) pricing. Swiss Economics has dedicated sectoral teams and works with leading law firms in Switzerland and abroad.