Product Market Competition, Regulation and Inclusive Growth 

1st Joint IMF-OECD-World Bank Conference on Structural Reforms

June 11, 2018

Productivity growth—the key long-term driver of living standards—has fallen in both advanced and emerging economies since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. In both country income groups, this has led to growing emphasis on strengthening structural reform efforts. Although specific priorities differ across countries, enhancing product market competition is a key part of this agenda.

In recent years, new policy questions have emerged, and old ones have gained more prominence, against the background of the slower pace of, and shrinking scope for, regulation reform in some countries, as well as structural changes in the economy in the digital age. Growing issues in the areas of product market competition and regulation include:

  1. Signs of increased concentration and market power in some markets, against the background of disruptive technological change and globalization;
  2. The on-going need to understand better the microeconomic, often market-specific, nature of the effects of product market reforms so that policymakers can prioritize, act and reap visible macroeconomic gains;
  3. Broader complementarities between product market reforms and other structural reforms (for example, to enhance governance or the functioning of financial and labor markets), macroeconomic policies, and innovations policies (including “new” industrial policy)
  4. Pervasive political economy—and in some cases legal or administrative capacity— related obstacles to regulation reforms in advanced economies (e.g. retail trade, professional services) and emerging markets (e.g. government-supported incumbents, legal monopolies and cartels) alike.

Aim of the conference and topics covered

The aim of the conference is to bring together policymakers and practitioners, international institutions, and leading academics to shed light on these issues from both practical and research perspectives, and draw robust and novel policy implications. Some of the key questions the conference will cover include:

  • How has product market competition including in key sectors changed since the 1990s?
  • What are the causes for the changes (e.g. disruptive technological change, network effects, globalization, product market regulatory reforms, anticompetitive behavior and strategic firm behavior)?
  • What are the consequences of changing product market competition for productivity growth, the wage share and income distribution? What are the implications for competition policy and market regulation?
  • What does the most recent research show on the micro- and macro-economic effects of product market reforms?
  • Are there differences in product market reform priorities between advanced and emerging-market countries? What criteria can be used to sequence reforms?
  • What are the complementary policy actions needed to maximize the impact of reforms on product market competition, innovation and inclusive growth?
  • What have we learned from past experiences with changes in regulation and from broader research about the political economy drivers of product market reforms? Who are the champions and supporters of these reforms?

The conference will feature a high-level policy panel and keynote speakers including Philippe Aghion (College de France and London School of Economics), Ufuk Akcigit (University of Chicago), and Alejandra Palacios (Chair of COFECE, the Competition Commission of Mexico).

Organizing committee

The organising committee is soliciting papers on the areas outlines above.  Papers using macro-econometric, micro-econometric, case study and model-based analyses of the effects of product market reforms are welcome. Preference will be given to papers that have a significant empirical content and/or those with direct policy relevance.

Submissions and important dates

Please submit papers to the organisers, copied to Patricia Neidlinger (, Ivana Ticha (, and to Amelia Godber ( by 31 January 2018. Extended abstracts will also be accepted but preference will be given to full drafts.

Only authors of accepted papers will be notified of the decision, which will be communicated by 16 March 2018.

Final drafts will be due by 31 May 2018.

Financial support will be provided to cover speakers’ travel and hotel expenses.


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