Corporate Strategies and Consumer Prices in Developing Countries
Edited by Lahcen Achy and Susan Joekes
The fundamental goal of competition law is to support productivity and innovativeness, but in fact the short-term effect of enforcement actions is very commonly to reduce product prices. Consumer welfare gains are a by-product of competitive markets and effective competition policy enforcement. This book presents market studies of a range of goods and services markets in ten developing countries, focusing on the effects on consumers. The markets cover foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, items purchased to support publically financed activities, TV distribution and international money transfer services. The countries include three in Africa (Mali, Morocco and Zambia) four in Asia (Armenia, Uzbekistan, India and Vietnam), and three in Central and South America (Argentina, Costa Rica and Jamaica). The studies find a pervasive – although not total – lack of competition in those markets, with identifiable harm to final consumers. Conversely, it may be possible to use the tools of competition policy to bring about gains for consumer welfare. The studies describe the types of investigations undertaken by national competition authorities to understand competition problems within their jurisdictions, the scope of their actions and the influence that competition policy interventions can have on economic outcomes and policy.