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Regular version of the site

Article

Competition policy during a crisis

Problems of Economic Transition. 2009. Vol. 52. No. 5. P. 74-95.

The analysis of competition policy during economic crisis is motivated by the fact that competition is a key factor in productivity levels. The latter, in turn, influences the scope and length of economic recession. In many Russian markets, buyers’ gains decline because of weak competition, since suppliers are reluctant to cut prices despite decreasing demand. Data on prices in Russia and abroad in the second half of 2008 show asymmetric price rigidity. At least two questions are important in an economic crisis: the “division of labor” between proactive and protective tools of competition policy and the impact of anticrisis policy on competition. Protective competition policy is insufficient in a transition economy, especially during a crisis, and it should be supplemented with well-designed industrial policy measures that do not contradict the goals of competition. The preferred tools of anticrisis policy are those that do not restrain competition.