It Takes One to Tango: The Single U.K. Competition And Markets Authority

Valentine Korah, Despoina Mantzari, May 14, 2012

The focus on good institutional design, as an important component of strong competition policy and enforcement, has become a priority of antitrust agencies around the globe. Both the “external design” of the agency, i.e. the place the authority occupies in the administrative structure of a state and the “internal design,” i.e. the system and procedures for antitrust enforcement and for the development of competition advocacy have been the subject of deliberation among trans-governmental participants in networks (i.e. the ICN, the ECN, and the OECD). In the research community, the work of industrial organization and developmental economists on the relationship between competition and productivity growth has been further enriched by the recognition that institutions and their performance also affect society’s ability to generate economic growth.

The U.K. competition regime is widely perceived as one of the best in the world and could not remain inattentive to calls for growth, particularly in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Improvements in its institutional performance and the level and length of decision-making were envisaged as fundamental to the Government’s strategy to support the recovery of the economy and the country’s prosperity. Following a lengthy consultation process, the Government decided to go down the path of institutional reform, by announcing the merger of the two principal U.K. competition authorities, i.e….

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