OECD Journal: Competition Law and Policy

  • Discontinued

This journal draws on the best of the recent work done for and by the OECD Committee on Competition Law and Policy. Its articles provide insight into the thinking a competition law enforcers, and focus on the practical application of competition law and policy. Here’s what Robert Pitofsky, Chairman of the US Federal Trade Commission said about this new journal when it was launched: “Global competition is the wave of the future, and comparative analysis of the laws and practices of various members of the worldwide community of nations is a necessary corollary. This new OECD Journal of Competition Law and Policy, compiled from OECD Round Table discussions, summaries of recent developments, and articles on topics of special interest, will introduce regulators, practitioners, and scholars to different regulatory approaches around the world and will allow us to consider in a more informed way the strengths and weaknesses of our own systems.”

Now published as part of the OECD Journal package.

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Price Transparency

Will a Greater Degree of Price Transparency Help or Harm Buyers?

Although enhanced price transparency will generally increase competition to the benefit of consumers, this paper argues that it can have the opposite effect in some special situations. A negative impact is especially likely in markets already prone to anti-competitive coordination. In such markets, competition authorities should be suspicious of competitors exchanging price data, or engaging in any other practice that could help focus anti-competitive arrangements or help competitors more than customers to react to price changes. They should also be wary of exchanges of non-binding future prices. The paper identifies a number of key factors to consider in assessing whether increased price transparency might raise the probability of anticompetitive co-ordination. That includes having a look at meeting competition and most favored nation clauses, and the practice of base point pricing. The paper also examines price transparency as regards information exchanges within trade associations, price advertisements, and mandatory price transparency in public procurement markets. It closes with a short list of questions competition authorities might wish to keep in mind when investigating the effects of price transparency. This OECD Competition Roundtable was held in June 2001.

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