ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Internet Search Engines and Two-sided Markets

Internet search engines provide a vital platform for various groups to interact and create value. On the one hand, they help users find answers to their search queries, and on the other, search engines monetise their free search services by selling advertisements to connect potential buyers with sellers. An exploration of the economics of search markets is presented along with a discussion about the economic literature on two (multi)-sided markets. There is also a discussion of issues with the developments in the antitrust case pertaining to Google in India.

Conflict between Regulation and Competition Law in the Indian Telecom Sector

The debate regarding the respective realms of competition law and economic regulation is not new. In the Indian context, complaints filed against the telecom incumbents Airtel, Vodafone and Idea by Reliance Jio before the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and the Competition Commission of India bring to the fore such an example. This case is analysed primarily through the legal standpoint, and it is argued that competition law intervention is warranted only in “gap” cases: where the regulatory regime cannot account for consumer welfare. Where the regulatory and competition agency reach conflicting decisions, the issue can be resolved by a third body whose decision is binding on both the regulator and the competition agency.

Information and Communications Technology Markets

The economics of the information and communication technologies industry is discussed, along with features of the Competition Act, 2002 and its relevance to the “new economy.”In the context of three cases—the Multi-Commodity Exchange Stock Exchange case in India, the Microsoft/Netscape Navigator case in the United States, and the Deutsche Telekom case in Europe—the concept of “relevant market” is explored, and observations are made on features such as two-sided markets, network effects and innovation, and on strategies such as vertical integration and predatory pricing.

Challenges of Competition and Regulation in the Telecom Sector

The telecommunications sector has come a long way from its perceived status as a natural monopoly to a competitive multiplayer industry. As competitive forces, both from within the telecom industry and the surrounding digital ecosystem, continue to redefine the sector’s dynamics, it creates new challenges for regulation and competition enforcement. Calling for fresh thinking on the respective roles of the sectoral regulator, the competition authority and the need for greater synergies between them, a model for voluntary cooperation between the authorities is suggested.

Repurposing NSSO Data for Market Definition

The definition of the relevant antitrust market is a critical first step in a competition economics investigation. For certain products, publicly available data in the form of the large sample household consumption expenditure survey can be used to implement small but significant and non-transitory increase in price tests for a range of consumer goods at different levels of geographic aggregation. Demand elasticities for a set of consumption goods are estimated through use of the Heckman sample selection model, which corrects for sample selection biases and specification errors that appear in survey data. Among other things, the conditions under which biased elasticity estimates lead to overly wide or overly narrow market definition are also illustrated.

The Transformation of Backward Class Politics in Uttar Pradesh

A major political development in Uttar Pradesh in recent years has been the growing elitism in candidate recruitment by parties. While parties claim to have become more socially inclusive, they tend to enrol their candidates from among the new business elites of the state, who seek to further entrench their domination through participation in the democratic process. This has far-reaching consequences on backward class politics.

The Struggle of RTI Activists in Gujarat

The Right to Information activists and whistle-blowers in India constantly face risk of harassment, assault, and even murder. The attacks on them are explored, with a special focus on Gujarat, by taking into consideration the nature of the cases they have filed. Who the RTI activists are and the role that non-governmental organisations have played in popularising the RTI is looked at as a tool to question the state in the distant villages of Gujarat, and also among the marginalised—women, Dalits, and Adivasis. The most common issues raised by the activists, the lack of institutional support and follow-up in protecting the activists, and other issues that are eroding the effectiveness of the RTI Act are highlighted.

Patterns of NOTA Voting in India

Since October 2013, Indian voters have the option of voting “None of the Above” if they choose to not vote for any of the candidates contesting in an election. It has been nearly five years since nota’s implementation, but how the option is used is not yet understood well. An examination of the initial trends in such voting shows that there is considerable regional variation. There is no indication that nota is higher in areas with a higher urban or literate population. Moreover, findings suggest that nota voting is not associated with rising turnout and increasing criminality in elections.

Federalism and Democracy in Today’s India

A look at the implications—for both democracy and federalism—of the return of centralised leadership under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after three decades in which political and economic power had flowed away from Delhi, shows that although states have been empowered in recent decades by economic and political decentralisation, India’s federal institutions place relatively weak checks on the power of a government led by a party that has attained a majority in the national Parliament.

Parliamentarism, Not Presidentialism

To opt for a parliamentary over a presidential form of government is arguably the most significant, yet under-analysed, decision made by the Indian constitution-makers. The conventional view is that parliamentarism was an obvious choice given the British colonial inheritance. However, parliamentarism, far from being obvious, was a counter-intuitive choice given the postcolonial agenda of state-led planned development, historically demanding an empowered executive branch most suited to presidentialism. As opposed to the maximalist and plebiscitarian tendencies of presidentialism, parliamentarism was a way to mediate the potentially conflictual cohabitation of mass democracy and planned development.

Towards Hegemony

The rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party has contributed to the emergence of a new ideological framework to India’s democracy and public life in general. This framework might be better understood if it is seen as the crafting of hegemony. The politics of crafting a new hegemony did not emerge all of a sudden. Beyond the immediate context, the rise of the party needs to be understood in the broader political context that has shaped up since 1989.

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