What is competition policy?
Below are some samples of attempts to explain or define competition policy
Hilmer Report 1993
Page xvi: ‘Competition policy is not about the pursuit of competition per se. Rather, it seeks to facilitate effective competition to promote efficiency and economic growth while accommodating situations where competition does not achieve efficiency or conflicts with other social objectives. … In its broadest sense, competition policy encompasses all policy dealing with the extent and nature of competition in the economy’.
Massimo Motta (2004)
Page xvii ‘the set of policies and laws which ensure that competition in the marketplace is not restricted in such a way as to reduce economic welfare’. In this respect Motto notes ‘firms might restrict competition in a way which is not necessarily detrimental’ and claims that ‘economic welfare’ is the appropriate objective to be pursued by competition policy.
Page 39: ‘The basis of competition policy is the idea that monopolies are “bad”. Indeed … a monopoly causes a static inefficiency: for given technologies, monopoly pricing results in a welfare loss’.
Stephen Corones (2004)
Competition Law in Australia (3rd edn, Lawbook Co, 2004)
Page 3: ‘Competition policy, broadly defined, embraces all Government policy that affects the level of competitive rivalry in markets.’
Page vi: ‘The justification for any law that regulates market conduct rests firmly on the belief that the promotion of competition leads to economic efficiency, not just in the production of existing goods and services at the least cost, but in the creation of new products and in the development of continuous product and process improvements. …’
Competition Policy: History, Theory and Practice, Edward Elgar (2001)
Page 1: ‘The objective and means of competition policy have been subject to various controversies. On one side there are ardent followers of the gospel of economic freedom as exemplified by the slogan ‘Liassez faire …’. They consider economic freedom and the ensuing competition as ends in themselves. On the other side there are those considering competition policy as a constituent part of an interventionistic industrial policy aiming at establishing market structures and enticing enterprises to behave in a way conducive to the enhancement of economic welfare. …’
Whish and Bailey
Richard Whish and David Bailey, Competition Law (8th edn, OUP, 2015)
Page 1: 'As a general proposition competition law consists of rules that are intended to protect the process of competition in order to maximise consumer welfare. ...'
Page 1: 'A central concern of competition law and policy is that a firm or firms with market power are able, in various ways, to harm consumer welfare, for example by reducing  output, raising prices, degrading the quality of products on the market, suppressing innovation and depriving consumers of choice. ...'
Page 20: '... although the consumer welfare standard is currently in the ascendancy, many different policy objects have been pursued in the name of competition law ... competition policy does not exist in a vacuum: it is an expression of the current values and aims of society and is as susceptible to change as political thinking generally ...'
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