Competition Policies and Consumer Welfare

Competition Policies and Consumer Welfare

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; in fact, the short-term effect of enforcement actions is often a reduction in product prices. This book reports the findings of consumer market studies into a range of goods and services in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It finds a pervasive lack of competition in those markets, which not only reduces the standard of living of consumers, including poor and vulnerable groups, but also softens the incentives on firms to improve the efficiency of their operations and the quality of their products

Chapter 2: An assessment of anticompetitive conduct in the supermarkets sector in Costa Rica

Randall Arce Alvarado, Donald Miranda Montes and Guillermo Zúñiga Arias

Subjects: development studies, development economics, law and development, economics and finance, competition policy, political economy, law - academic, competition and antitrust law


In the past 30 years, large supermarkets have changed the retail business landscape around the world. They have introduced larger stores, provided a wider variety of products, lengthened shopping hours and attempted to reach out to a more diverse clientele. This strategy has transformed traditional retailing. The entry of large-scale supermarkets has been driven by both supply and demand factors. Changes on the demand side are due to a range of economic, sociological and demographic factors. Improvement in standards of living, increased urbanization and higher female participation in the labour force outside the home have all contributed to promote modern distribution. Large supermarkets offer processed food that saves cooking time. Growth in personal incomes and access to consumer credit have prompted more widespread use of large refrigerators, easing the storage of perishable products and changing shopping habits. Affordability of cars by the middle and upper-middle classes favours the expansion of large supermarkets in the cities’ outskirts (Lagakos 2009).

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