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The Political Economy of Competition Regulation in the Global South

Dates:
  • Wed 20 Nov 2019 16.45 - 18.30
  Add to Calendar 2019-11-20 16:45 2019-11-20 18:30 Europe/Paris The Political Economy of Competition Regulation in the Global South

Regulatory capitalism subjects areas of activity to government by specialised independent regulatory agencies who work towards realising clearly defined public goods over the medium-term. It is synonymous with globalisation both because it has facilitated transnational trade by evening out terms of trade across the world and because it has spread across the globe. Competition regulation is very much its banner child. It is applied across the globe according to similar templates and under significant international oversight. However, competition regulation also raises questions about the playing out of globalisation. The performance of competition authorities varies considerably, and they often exercise most authority where one might not expect it. This essay sets out a hypothesis for why this is so. It argues that competition regulation requires authorities to address, first, how much market change they want competition regulation to realise and, second, how politically significant they wish this change to be. This leads to four broad worlds of competition regulation. The first is where competition regulation brings significant market change in a politically salient fashion (economic democracy). The second is significant market change with low political salience (transnational technique). The third is where it is seen as politically important to maintain existing market structures of power (elite dominance). The final world is where competition regulation neither brings about market change nor is politically significant (simulacrum). As these responses generate significant rents, any equilibrium relies on a sufficiently powerful array of interests supporting the response. This generates a paradox as the world which can provide sufficient political support for an active competition policy is that of economic democracy, and that is a world that regulatory capitalism was established to overcome.

Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Regulatory capitalism subjects areas of activity to government by specialised independent regulatory agencies who work towards realising clearly defined public goods over the medium-term. It is synonymous with globalisation both because it has facilitated transnational trade by evening out terms of trade across the world and because it has spread across the globe. Competition regulation is very much its banner child. It is applied across the globe according to similar templates and under significant international oversight. However, competition regulation also raises questions about the playing out of globalisation. The performance of competition authorities varies considerably, and they often exercise most authority where one might not expect it. This essay sets out a hypothesis for why this is so. It argues that competition regulation requires authorities to address, first, how much market change they want competition regulation to realise and, second, how politically significant they wish this change to be. This leads to four broad worlds of competition regulation. The first is where competition regulation brings significant market change in a politically salient fashion (economic democracy). The second is significant market change with low political salience (transnational technique). The third is where it is seen as politically important to maintain existing market structures of power (elite dominance). The final world is where competition regulation neither brings about market change nor is politically significant (simulacrum). As these responses generate significant rents, any equilibrium relies on a sufficiently powerful array of interests supporting the response. This generates a paradox as the world which can provide sufficient political support for an active competition policy is that of economic democracy, and that is a world that regulatory capitalism was established to overcome.


Location:
Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of Law

Type:
Working group

Speaker:
Prof. Damian Chalmers (National University of Singapore)

Contact:
Valentina Spiga - Send a mail

Organiser:
International Law Working Group

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