Independent Sector Regulators and their Relationship with Competition Authorities

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Abstract

Independent sector regulators and competition authorities share many objectives and common interests, particularly because they both can play key roles in promoting effective and beneficial competition. In this note, the criteria and rationale for the independence of sector regulators and competition authorities are explained, along with a suggestion that independence may sometimes be especially critical for institutions with broad economic oversight and quasi-judicial responsibilities or, alternately, for institutions most subject to influence of special interests. The note suggests that sector regulators may benefit, in times of high technological change and uncertainty, from principle-based laws that allow regulators the flexibility to adjust their precise rules in light of evolving circumstances. Moreover, the note suggests that in some respects, the sectors subject to independent regulation may usefully include other sectors beyond those most traditionally associated with independent regulation. Ultimately, ensuring consistency and convergence between sector regulator and competition authority objectives and actions is important; ironically, independence can make ensuring such consistency through direct co-operation a challenge. Based on international experience, multiple mechanisms exist for achieving or encouraging such consistency; some combination of these merits consideration by designers of competition policy regimes.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationParis
PublisherOECD
Number of pages34
VolumeDAF/COMP/WP2(2019)3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2019
EventOECD Working Party on Competition and Regulation: Independent Sector Regulators and Competition - OECD, Paris, France
Duration: 2 Dec 20192 Dec 2019
https://www.oecd.org/daf/competition/independent-sector-regulators.htm

Keywords

  • independent regulator
  • competition authority
  • regulation
  • competition policy

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