Product Market Competition and Economic Performance in the United Kingdom [E-Book] / Maria Maher and Michael Wise
Maher, Maria.
Wise, Michael.
Paris : OECD Publishing, 2005
53 p. ; 21 x 29.7cm.
OECD Economics Department Working Papers ; 433
United Kingdom
Full Text
This paper assesses what role product market competition and regulatory reforms may have played in the performance of the British economy over the past decade. Competitive pressures appear to be relatively strong in the United Kingdom, with regulations inhibiting competition and barriers to trade amongst the lowest in the OECD. Nevertheless, there is scope for improvement and the recent overhaul of competition legislation should help to further promote competition. Much progress has been made in the professional services sector. Self-regulatory bodies are no longer exempt from competition legislation and professional bodies have undertaken a number of actions towards removing or easing restrictions that inhibit competition. In the retail sector, market power remains a problem and the competition authorities will need to remain vigilant. The government’s recent approach to planning has made new large scale entry very difficult, impeding competition and inhibiting entry. Industry regulators also need to remain vigilant in the electricity, gas and telecommunications sectors. Reforms in these sectors have led to increased productivity, though international comparisons suggest that there is scope for prices to fall. While recent steps by the government overcome the most serious weaknesses of the privatised rail system, continuing problems regarding incentives and responsibilities remain to be resolved.