Competition Policy, Market Power, and Inequality

Document Type


Publication Date

November 2018

Conference / Event Title

2018 OECD Global Forum on Competition


How can competition contribute to fairer societies?2018 OECD GLOBAL FORUM ON COMPETITION DISCUSSED COMPETITION AND FAIR SOCIETIESThe term “fairness” is emerging in the annoucements of many antitrust enforcers without a universal definition, particularly in the competition context. Fairness, while innate to most individuals, is fluid, subject to the influence of many factors: culture, education, experience, society. Behaviourial scientists and psycologists have attempted to examine how fairness works and is defined in markets. While common tendencies may emerge, no consensus was observed. Concerns with fairness in societies may reflect a growing, and positive desire, to reduce societal inequalities, and ensure that opportunities are shared more broadly across society, whether amongst individuals or firm. Taken in this context, how can fairness be interpreted by competition authorities and judges without becoming moralistic or undermining the proven criteria that underpin competition enforcement. In November 2018, the Global Forum on Competition explored the concept of fairness, whether and how it can relate to competition and what fairness can mean in practical terms to competition enforcers. The session was led by a panel of experts from different policy areas to debate the question and discussed with delegates in an interactive Q&A format.