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Enhancing welfare by attacking anticompetitive market distortions

Alden F. Abbott, Shanker Singham, Concurrences, N° 4-2011, n°39547

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“Anticompetitive market distortions,” or “ACMDs,” involve government actions that empower certain private interests to obtain or retain artificial competitive advantages over their rivals be they foreign or domestic, to the detriment of consumer welfare. This article assesses the nature of ACMDs, and the problems governmental and international institutions (in particular, the World Trade Organization and national competition agencies) have had in dealing with them. We suggest that the multilateral International Competition Network – and, in particular, the ICN’s Advocacy Working Group – may be a possible near term vehicle for beginning to confront,or at least beginning to highlight, the harm of ACMDs. With that in mind, this article proposed the development of a metric to estimate the net welfare costs of ACMDs. Such a metric could help strengthen the hand of the ICN – and of reform-minded public officials.

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