Peter Davis
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Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Competition

Peter Davis leads Cornerstone Research’s European competition practice and is head of the firm’s London office. Dr Davis is an industry-leading expert whose experience encompasses a wide range of litigation and regulatory investigations. He is a former deputy chairman of the UK Competition Commission. Dr Davis now acts as a consultant for clients and provides expert testimony in merger cases, damages actions and market investigations. Previously, Dr Davis was on the faculty of the London School of Economics and MIT Sloan School of Management.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE FIELD OF COMPETITION ECONOMICS?

To begin with, I enjoyed debating economic policy with friends. As my understanding of the economic theory underlying industrial organisation developed and I became more experienced in econometric analyses and evaluating large datasets, I naturally gravitated towards tackling the important questions at the heart of competition policy.

I took my first real step into competition economics during my PhD studies at Yale with Ariel Pakes (now at Harvard) and Steve Berry. My focus was on building realistic economic models of customer choice behaviour in retail markets. I continued working on such models while at MIT and then the London School of Economics. These models now underlie a significant part of modern competition analysis in merger cases. It was an exciting place to start.  

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?

I want to understand the richly complex world in which we live. Applying competition economics raises fascinating, practical questions that challenge us to think creatively while focusing firmly on the evidence. Economists have long recognised that initial intuitions, uninformed by evidence, often provide a poor guide to developing sound competition policy. Instead, the analytical framework of economic theory can help guide how we collect and interpret evidence. Combining theory with qualitative and quantitative analyses and an assessment of internal documents to understand what is going on in an industry is hugely rewarding – and can lead to “eureka” moments.  

HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE AT THE UK COMPETITION COMMISSION (CC), NOW PART OF THE COMPETITION AND MARKETS AUTHORITY, HELPED TO SHAPE YOUR PRACTICE?

Being at the heart of a competition agency for five years was a tremendous experience. I learned the importance of clear communication. First, casework requires effective teamwork and team members are necessarily drawn from multiple disciplines. For example, in competition cases, law and economics are distinct, but intertwined. Second, it may sound obvious, but the economic evidence we submit to the agencies and courts must be useful, practical and comprehensible. 

YOU RECENTLY WROTE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF FAIR PROCESS IN COMPETITION INVESTIGATIONS. HOW DOES AN ECONOMIST GET TO THAT TOPIC? 

Disclosure and access to information are crucial to our work as economists. In the UK, we are currently at an important juncture for rights of defence in competition investigations. Under fair process, the main parties should have access to the information they need to assess the evidence on which a merger is being challenged or a conduct infringement decision is being made. This provides the experts on both sides with the opportunity to review the accuracy of the data and test the robustness of the economic analyses of opposing experts. 

In the cases I chaired at the CC, I promoted increased access to information for parties’ advisers. In the South East Water/Mid Kent Water merger inquiry, a data room was possible because most of the data were from Ofwat and already public. I was also able to set up data rooms in the PPI market investigation and helped break new ground by sending survey results to the parties’ economists in the Stena/DFDS merger inquiry. And of course we had the General Court’s recent decision in the UPS/TNT merger—I think it’s a topic of central importance. 

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST MEMORABLE CASE YOU HAVE WORKED ON SO FAR? 

If I had to choose one case, it would probably be the PPI market investigation, on which I served as chairman. But it is a tough call. Working on the energy market investigation for RWE npower was a great experience, as was the private healthcare market investigation. And one of my current cases, an application for a collective proceeding order following the truck cartel, has been incredibly interesting. Each new case brings new problems to solve; the constant intellectual challenge is one of the best parts of this work.

AS HEAD OF CORNERSTONE RESEARCH’S EUROPEAN COMPETITION PRACTICE, WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES? 

To continue to deliver consistent excellence in casework to clients, build on our capabilities – taking advantage of our deep bench of internal and external experts with sectoral experience, and at the same time ensure that we maintain our core values and great team-based culture. 

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Competition: Economists

Peter Davis leads Cornerstone Research’s European competition practice. Dr Davis is an expert in competition economics and econometrics, with a practice which focuses on mergers, follow-on damages actions and market investigations.

He has provided expert analyses for a variety of cases in the EU, the United Kingdom, China, the Netherlands and South Africa. He has worked on a range of industries, including energy, financial services, healthcare, media and retail. From 2006 to 2011 he served as deputy chairman of the UK Competition Commission (CC), now part of the UK Competition and Markets Authority. While at the CC, Dr Davis served as inquiry chairman with responsibility for both procedural and substantive aspects of numerous merger inquiries as well as market and regulatory investigations.

Dr Davis is a former faculty member at the London School of Economics and also MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He is also a former president of the Association of Competition Economics. He is a regular speaker, and has published widely, on both the academic foundations and practical application of competition economics and econometrics. He is the co-author of two books: Quantitative Techniques for Competition and Antitrust Analysis and Damages Claims for the Infringement of EU Competition Law.

WWL says: Peter Davis comes “highly recommended” by market commentators for his impressive knowledge of antitrust investigations and litigation proceedings.‚Äč

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Competition which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Consulting Experts: Experts - Economics - Competition Economists

Peter Davis heads Cornerstone Research’s London office and leads the firm’s European competition practice. Dr Davis is a former deputy chairman of the UK Competition Commission (CC), now part of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). At the CC he was a member of the council, the CC’s strategic management board, and served as inquiry chairman for numerous mergers as well as competition and regulatory investigations.  

As a consultant, Dr Davis is an expert in applying competition economics and econometrics in competition law investigations and litigation. He has significant experience in merger cases, damages actions  and market investigations, and has provided expert analyses in disputes in a variety of jurisdictions, including the EU, United Kingdom, China, the Netherlands and South Africa. He has submitted expert reports and testified before the UK High Court, DG Competition, the CMA and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Previously, Dr Davis served as a faculty member at the London School of Economics and the MIT Sloan School of Management. He has co-authored two books: Quantitative Techniques for Competition and Antitrust Analysis (Princeton University Press) and Damages Claims for the Infringement of EU Competition Law (Oxford University Press). Dr Davis has served as an associate editor of the Journal of Industrial Economics and Economica. His research has been published in numerous journals, including the International Journal of Industrial Organization, the Journal of Econometrics, and the RAND Journal of Economics. Dr Davis has also served as president of the Association of Competition Economics.

WWL says: Peter Davis is highly esteemed for his expertise in competition economics, follow-on damages and regulatory matters at both the UK and European levels.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Consulting Experts which can be purchased from our Shop.

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