22 juin 2011
Competition and efficient usage of payment cards
The OECD Competition Committee debated competition and efficient usage of payment cards in June 2006. In recent years, debit and credit cards have become increasingly common as retail payment mechanisms and have increasingly displaced checks and cash. The roundtable discussed potential market power and pricesetting abuses related to payment cards, reviewed the regulatory (or self-regulatory) mechanisms that sometimes govern the operation of card networks and considered methods for increasing the role of competitive forces among payment cards. A market failure exists because costs for different payment mechanisms are rarely reflected in consumer prices. Consideration should be given to permitting merchants to form payment ventures, as this would promote system competition between owners with different incentives, and to promoting entry by potential new technologies that would not involve existing payment networks. Many other policy options are discussed.
22 juin 2011
Competition and regulation in retail banking
The Competition Committee debated retail banking in October 2006. Competition can improve the functioning of the retail banking sector without harming prudential regulation. The efficient functioning of the sector is important for economic performance. The sector is considered special primarily because of externalities related to potential "contagion" effects stemming from (i) the withdrawal-upondemand characteristic of some bank deposits and (ii) the role banks play in the payment system, and (iii) the fact that banks are important for the funding of consumers and SMEs. Customer mobility and choice is essential to simulate retail-banking competition. An important observation is that the degree of customer mobility is low and the longevity of customer-bank relationships is long. Financial information sharing platforms should therefore be promoted and, where limited by privacy laws, privacy laws should be modified in a way that maintains the goal of protecting privacy while also allowing consumers to receive the benefits of credit ratings.
22 juin 2011
Country review of Argentina
The Inter-American Development Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development co-operate in competition law and policy to promote increased economic growth, employment and economic efficiency and a higher average standard of living in the medium to long term. There is increasing consensus that sound competition law and policy are essential to achieving these goals. "Peer review" is a core element of OECD work. The mechanisms of peer review vary, but it is founded upon the willingness of all OECD countries and their partners to submit their laws and policies to substantive questioning by other members. This process provides valuable insights to the reviewed country and promotes transparency and mutual understanding for the benefit of all. The benefits of this process are particularly clear in the area of competition law and policy. As a result of the activities of the Competition Committee, OECD countries that once had real conflicts on competition issues have become partners in seeking to halt harmful international anticompetitive practices. The Committee has also become an important forum for assessing and demonstrating the usefulness of applying competition policy principles to economic and other regulatory systems. IDB/OECD co-operation in competition law and policy centers on annual meetings of the Latin American Competition Forum. LACF meetings include substantive roundtable discussions and peer reviews of national laws and institutions. The peer reviews have examined Brazil, Chile, Peru and now Argentina. The IDB is pleased to participate and finance this work, as part of its efforts to promote a better business climate for investment in the counties of Latin America and the Caribbean. We want to thank the Government of Argentina for volunteering to be peer reviewed at the fourth LACF meeting, held in San Salvador, El Salvador, on 11-12 July, 2006. It was encouraging to hear Argentina’s Delegation confirm at the meeting that the report’s recommendations were helpful and to hear from Delegates of other countries that this review has improved their understanding of Argentina’s competition law and policy. Finally, we want to thank Mr. John Clark, the author of the report, and the many competition officials whose written and oral contributions to the Forum have been so important to its success.