Competition forms the basis for well-functioning markets and thereby contributes to economic and social welfare.

SEO offers economic research and advisory services in the area of competition and market functioning. Examples include delineating a relevant product market; assessing whether state aid is justified, or analysing the impact of changes in European regulation on the functioning of markets. One of our specialties is identifying and quantifying competition infringements and their resulting economic damage. SEO’s approach combines a scientific and quantitative approach with targeted and practical analyses and solutions.

SEO conducts these assignments in various markets and sectors, such as retail, real estate, insurance, legal and financial services, tourism, transport and the platform economy. We do this for various clients, including regulators, government institutions and the private sector.


What are the economic effects of unfair competition?

Fair competition is important for a healthy and innovative economy. Violating competition rules can lead to significant economic damage. With economic research, we analyse and quantify this damage. We do this in major international cases, such as the European truck cartel and the emissions scandal surrounding diesel cars. We also investigate the size of the relevant market and conduct analyses of market functioning. Our clients in competition cases are companies and lawyers representing both the complainant and the defendant. In our research, we distinguish ourselves by using advanced econometric techniques and applying the latest insights from economic theory.

In addition to research, we support our clients with advice on competition cases. We also evaluate competition policies on behalf of governments and assist foreign governments in implementing competition policy. For example, SEO developed competition policy for Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten.

How well do markets function and when can this lead to unwanted market outcomes?

SEO conducts research into market functioning for sector organisations, government agencies as well as businesses. Among other topics, we analyse the necessary rules and conditions to enable markets to function efficiently. We also often analyse the distributional effects of setting up and regulating markets.

What impact does a tender have on your sector and business model?

A well-designed tender and a good understanding of its economic impact are crucial for the tendering process. SEO can provide support with drafting a good tender design. We also assess the financial-economic information in bids. For example, we can investigate whether the mentioned or requested costs and returns are market-conforming. The same questions may arise for companies when they lose a tender. We primarily conduct this type of research for (semi-)public institutions and private companies.

Does a subsidy scheme comply with European state aid rules?

Is there an economic activity? And a general interest? Does a measure disrupt competition? Is there an effect on trade? For our clients, we assess compliance with European state aid rules. SEO evaluates whether a measure is market-conforming and advises clients on how to comply with these state aid rules. Additionally, we have extensive experience in conducting analyses where the impact of state aid rules on market functioning is central.