UNCTAD call for papers: Competition policy and development

Call for contributors

Competition policy and development

Contribution to UNCTAD XII

UNCTAD is seeking contributions from experts and scholars to form part of an edited collection of essays specifically examining the topics mentioned below. The proposed research will fall within the broad theme of competition policy and competitiveness. In exploring the nature of the relationship between competition policy and competitiveness the emphasis will be on empirical research which will (i) assess the impact of competition law and policy enforcement (or lack thereof) on competitiveness; (ii) test competition theory and research findings through a series of case studies of country experiences, and (iii) formulate policy recommendations.

Research themes

The following themes could be included in the research project. Other similar topics can be considered however and we encourage any scholar interested in the general aims of this collection to contact us:

· Anti-competitive practices and their adverse effects on developing countries; it is often suggested that developing countries stand to lose the most from anti-competitive practices in the international economy, such as international hard-core cartels, vertical restraints, and foreclosure. This is a frequently used argument and one proffered as inducement to developing countries for a multilateral framework on competition. An attempt could be made to test this hypothesis. In conjunction, the question of whether and under what conditions cartels can be beneficial to developing countries (as suggested by some delegations at the WTO) could also be tested.
· Competition policy as a stimulus for enterprise development; would explore the extent to which the enactment of competition legislation and the adoption of competition law and policy has the effect of increasing a country’s overall enterprise development capabilities. Based on various “best-practices” identified, a number of policy guidelines would be developed.
· Competition policy, supply capacity and export diversification; the issue under investigation would be the impact of competition law and policy on firms’ incentives for the acquisition of know-how including related investments in physical and process technology, networking, and sustainable increases in firm supply capacity. Based on these findings, the next step would assess the impact of competition (either through liberalisation, deregulation or competition enforcement) on firms’ ability to upgrade their competitiveness or opening up opportunities for export diversification in emerging dynamic sectors.
· Exemptions and exceptions from competition: what are the implications for international performance? It is often argued that firms/sectors facing strong domestic competition are also the ones performing best at international level. The study would investigate whether industries/sectors that are exempted/excepted from competition policy perform better or worse than those covered. This question, for which the other side of the coin is the «national champion» argument would be tested empirically in the context of selected developing countries.
Methodological approach
The project therefore envisages a hybrid methodological approach, combining qualitative and quantitative analysis, supported by cross-national and sectoral case studies. For instance, quantitative indicators of effectiveness of antitrust and competition policy enforcement based on data from each country’s competition authorities and supplemented with assessments by legal practitioners (such as institutional effectiveness, competition advocacy, law enforcement) will be used not only in connection with entrepreneurship promotion but also export diversification. Other useful indicators that will have the potential to serve a broader objective (future research, activities of competition authorities, etc.) could be collected based on a common methodology that would allow cross-country comparisons, e.g. market structure of key sectors, natural monopolies, market concentration, size of firms, rules governing entry and exit, ownership structure (domestic/regional/foreign, private/state-owned), etc.

Application procedures and deadlines

. sample of previously published work that is relevant to topics outlined above.

Deadline for submission: 20 January 2008
Researchers (external consultants) based in developing countries, ideally affiliated with some institutions that could form the basis of a longstanding research partnership with UNCTAD are particularly encouraged to apply.

To apply and for further details please contact:


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