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Key Factors for a Successful and Effective Competition Agency

Key Factors for a Successful and Effective Competition Agency

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Key Factors for a Successful and Effective Competition Agency

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  1. Key Factors for a Successful and Effective Competition Agency William E. Kovacic King’s College London ICN AEWG Workshop Botswana, 10 March 2016

  2. Rationale for ICN AEWG Botswana Workshop • The Remarkable Transformation • From <20 systems in 1990 to about 130 in 2016 • 2016: Approximately 130 systems • Earlier: Pass the Law, All Else Falls into Place • Today: Quality of Institutions Shapes Results • Nothing easy or automatic about implementation

  3. This Morning’s Agenda • Effective and Successful Defined • Ten Important Characteristics • Virtuous Cycle • Personal Views only • Contact: wkovacic@law.gwu.edu

  4. Resources • Hyman & Kovacic, Consume or Invest? What Do/Should Regulators Do?, Washington Law Review (forthcoming 2016) • Hyman & Kovacic, Institutional Design, Agency Life Cycle, and The Goals of Competition Law, Fordham Law Review (2012) • Kovacic & Hyman, Competition Agency Design: What’s on the Menu?, European Competition Journal (2012) • Kovacic, Creating a Respected Brand: How Regulatory Agencies Signal Quality, George Mason Law Review (2015)

  5. “What Is the Basis for the Grade in This Course?” • Effective and Successful Defined • Most Generally: Raise Economic Performance • Good Decisions to Intervene, Not to Intervene • Good Technique: Organization and Operations

  6. Role of Experiments and Learning • Inevitable Process of Early Testing • Example: US merger review reforms 1976 • Consume or Invest • Early Decades: Institution Building

  7. I. Define Goals • Everything Starts With Clear View of Aims • Focus agency’s staff • Stimulate external debate • Connect Aims, Programs, Results • Manage Expectations • Heroic expectations vs. actual capabilities

  8. II. Conscious Plan to Set Priorities and Strategy to Achieve Them • Common Model: Agency as Fire Department • Ask: What Gives Best Returns to Society? • Portfolio: Balance risks and returns • Match Commitments to Capabilities • Who will do it? • What will it cost? • How long will it take? • How will we know it is working?

  9. III. Branding • Reputation: Smart, Open, Honest, Courageous • Function of process and substantive programs • Impact on external bodies: courts, legislators, ministers, other regulators, businesses, the public • Marketing • Reinforcement in all external communications • Articles, briefs, reports, speeches • Communications program

  10. Communication and Education • Is an Agency Effective Only When the Media and Commentators Say It Is? • Education and Marketing • Traditional means • New media

  11. IV. Problem-Solving vs. Case-Centric Orientation • Traditional Focus: Cases and Big Cases • “We’ve been very busy” • Activity is not the same as accomplishment • Take-offs vs. landings • Short term vs. long term • Are Cases Important? Of Course • Impact, credibility, capability • Emerging View: How Best to Solve Problems?

  12. V. The Right Mix of Tools • Law Enforcement: The Anchor Tenant • Advocacy • Research

  13. VI. Investments in Capacity • Agency Infrastructure • “Research and Development” Budget • Data collection and studies • External Consultations: Hearings, Workshops • Partnerships with “Co-Producers” • Example: Academic research centers

  14. VII. Internal Quality Control • Aim: Systems to Test Theory and Evidence • Counteract internal confirmation bias • Routine Element of Operations • Not merely response to crisis • Ethical Safeguards • Confidentiality

  15. VIII. Build Human Capital • Recruitment: Links to Academia • Retention: Skills Development • Cooperation across Agencies • Preservation of Know-How • Electronic data sets • Capital budget: Investments in technology

  16. Cooperation With Other Authorities • Why Pool Experience? Health Care Analogy • Refine analytical frameworks • Absorb knowhow from applications • Benchmark operations/management • Address common needs: e.g., training • Example: FTC International Fellows Program

  17. IX. Assess Performance • Relevant Question: Did Programs Improve Economic Performance? • Question We Prefer to Answer: What Was the Agency’s Level of Activity?

  18. Evaluation: Programs and Processes • What Worked and What Did Not • Increasing Importance of Assessing • Program outputs • Operations • Means: Internal Assessment, Consultation with External Experts, Peer Review

  19. Evaluation: Periodic Assessment • Cumulative Nature of Policy Development • Evaluation by Insiders and Outsiders • Upgrades in powers, processes, organization

  20. X. Leadership • Right Mix for the Leadership Team • Head and senior managers • Long-Term Orientation: Cumulative Contributions Over time • Special Issues with a College • Political Autonomy and Legitimacy

  21. The Virtuous Cycle • Experimentation • Assessment • Refinement • Fred Hilmer’s Commandment