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OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform: Germany 2004

Consolidating Economic and Social Renewal

image of OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform: Germany 2004

This report argues for adjustments to regulatory governance traditions so that necessary changes can take place more quickly, at least cost to the economy and with the participation of all relevant stakeholders.

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Competition Policy

Competition law and policy occupy a central position in Germany’s economic and political framework, and have deep roots in the country’s history. Vigorous economic growth accompanied industrialisation and re-unification in the second part of the 19th century, underpinned by a strong belief in the merits of the free market. As the economy started to experience the “boom and bust” of industrial cycles, the perception of competition changed. It needed to be controlled, and in response to crisis, firms started to co-operate by entering agreements on production and capacity. By 1900 there were 400 established cartels, an apparently permanent feature of the economy: larger, more numerous and more durable than elsewhere in the industrialised world. The political leadership did not fundamentally object (cartels helped to bind the newly integrated German State together), and economic thinkers tended to ...

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