Rebates are a common commercial practice in business and can have efficiency enhancing effects, leading to lower overall prices for customers and consumers. In addition, they might be used to stimulate downstream competition. However, rebates also have the potential to exclude rivals from a market, particularly when used by a dominant undertaking. For instance, a dominant firm’s use of loyalty rebates or exclusivity can, in some cases, harm consumers by reducing the ability of rivals to compete effectively. Rebates therefore have been scrutinized by competition authorities around the world for their potential to prevent, restrict or distort competition.
Dr Maria Maher is a competition economist associated with DT Economics. She has over 25 years’ experience specialising in competition and regulatory matters and is listed in Who’s Who Legal 2019 line up of competition economists. With expertise in a wide range of industries, including financial services, technology, telecoms, energy, chemicals and commodities, Dr Maher provides consulting, expert reports and litigation support in complex matters related to abuse of dominance, anticompetitive agreements, mergers, intellectual property and market investigations. She has provided expert analyses on topics ranging from rebates, exclusivity arrangements, two-sided markets, FRAND, margin squeeze and excessive pricing. She has also advised clients in collusion cases, assessing liability and damages. During her consultancy career, Dr Maher has advised clients and their legal advisers in a number of countries throughout the EU, USA, Canada, UAE and Asia. Dr Maher holds a PhD in economics from the University of California at Berkeley and started her career as an academic. She held positions at the University of Cambridge, where she was also a Fellow and Director of Studies in Economics at Christ’s College, and at Birkbeck College. As an academic, she worked closely with BT, providing strategic advice relating to R&D, compatibility standards and licensing and she taught both undergraduate and graduate courses on industrial economics, microeconomic theory, competition and regulatory policy, bargaining and game theory. Prior to moving to consultancy in 2006, Maria was a Senior Economist at the OECD in Paris, where she led the Organisation’s work on competition and economic performance.
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