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Competition Advocacy Contest 2024

February 01-May 17, 2024
Online

2024 Competition Advocacy contest logo
The International Competition Network (ICN) and the World Bank Group are pleased to announce the launch of the 2024 Competition Advocacy Contest. This contest aims to highlight the key role competition agencies, sector regulators and other governmental bodies or non-governmental organizations play in promoting competition by showcasing their advocacy success stories.

As defined by the ICN, competition advocacy refers to activities that promote a competitive environment through non-enforcement mechanisms, such as building relationships with government entities, increasing public awareness of competition’s benefits and identifying and removing anticompetitive policies and regulations.

We are looking for success stories from competition agencies, other public bodies or civil society that demonstrate the tangible results of competition advocacy under four themes:

Theme 1 - Fostering job opportunities and firm growth through competition advocacy:
Competition policy is a key driver for job creation and firm growth, particularly for SMEs (OECD, 2015; UNCTAD 2022). More than 30 percent of workers are employed in concentrated markets that may increase competition risks (Araki et al. 2023 covering a sample of 14 countries). SMEs, which account for 90 percent of businesses and more than 50 percent of employment worldwide, recognize the critical role of competition in promoting innovation, better prices and increased choice (between 80-90 percent of respondents in EU study of SMEs). Evidence confirms that major product market deregulation reforms increased real value added and employment in targeted industries by approximately 10 percent and over 5 percent respectively in the medium term (Bouis et al., 2020) and small firms tend to benefit the most from pro-competition reforms compared to larger ones (Gal and Hijzen, 2016). Strong market institutions are also crucial to ensure that regulatory frameworks are robust and consistently enforced, further contributing to sustainable economic development.

Effective competition advocacy not only supports economic growth and government resilience but also paves the way for more and better jobs and SME development. Initiatives in this category show effects in labor markets and firm growth.

Theme 2 - Competition advocacy to leverage new technologies while limiting the risks for markets:
New technologies offer great opportunities for growth and innovation from the creation of new markets and products to revolutionizing traditional industries, even the way competition authorities conduct their investigations and advocacy work. Banking has been reimagined through fintech, procurement data can be analyzed though new machine learning models to identify cartel risks, blockchain holds substantial promise to apply smart contracts across industries, and new AI tools spread like wildfire. However, new business models and technologies can also increase the risks for anticompetitive behavior from abuses of dominance to collusion through algorithms. The WBG Digital Antitrust Database confirms a surge of investigations since 2017 amidst the more than 1,000 antitrust cases across 85 jurisdictions. By fostering an environment that encourages the use of new tools and technologies while tackling their risks, competition advocacy can propel markets forward.

This includes advocacy initiatives to foster competition in digital markets, limit the competition risks of new technologies, and support the development of new tools to identify anticompetitive behavior such as platforms to analyze tender data.


Theme 3 - Embedding competition in industrial policies through advocacy:
Governments across the world are increasingly reconsidering the role of industrial policies as a mechanism to strategically promote key sectors, especially those relevant for the green transition as well as to nurture technological advancements, and cultivate domestic talent (IMF, 2023, World Bank, 2023). Yet, evidence shows that industrial policies without a competition angle might miss the mark, while targeted sectoral interventions that foster competition yield superior results (Aghion et al., 2015 showed that the more competitive the sector that receives state aid, the more positive the effects on total factor productivity, growth and product innovation. By contrast, for sectors with low degree of competition, the effects are negative). Competition advocacy is instrumental in embedding competition principles across sectors targeted by industrial policies with a green objective from renewable energies and agribusiness to motor vehicles, semi-conductors and critical minerals.

By integrating competition principles into industrial policies, including limiting distortions of subsidies and other state support measures, competition authorities and governments can stimulate innovation, enhance efficiency, catalyze the green transformation, and promote a dynamic business environment.  

Theme 4 - Raising awareness on competition by communicating on impact and results:
Communication is a key component of effective competition advocacy, with more than 80% of the entries in the ICN-WBG Competition Advocacy contest since 2013 using media and communications as key tools in their advocacy strategies. Raising awareness on the impact and results of competition policy is essential for building public support of governments and citizens and develop a competition culture, which can lead to further support and reforms. Furthermore, showcasing how these results can be leveraged into other markets, can serve as a powerful tool for encouraging compliance and inspiring confidence in the regulatory process. Effective and innovative communication allows competition authorities to demonstrate the tangible benefits of their interventions.

This involves conducting ex-post assessments of enforcement and advocacy initiatives to evaluate their effectiveness across sectors and communicating and disseminating the benefits of competition.

Please contact Alex Ciborowska with any questions at aciborowska@worldbank.org.

The deadline for submissions was March 1, 2024 (11h59 pm, ET).