Liberalisation and competition intervention in regulated sectors

What's new

  • Digital disruption in financial markets

    To what degree might digital disruption from FinTech and BigTech impair stability in financial markets, and do these players need a different type of regulatory oversight? To what degree can better regulation solve the conundrum of competition-versus-stability, and does a middle ground exist? Do new actors from FinTech and BigTech create systemic risks similar, or indeed different to those inherent in the traditional banking model? Should BigTech be regulated as a financial services provider or differently?

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  • Taxi, ride-sourcing and ride-sharing services

    In June 2018, the OECD held a roundtable to discuss competition challenges related to taxi and ride-sharing services. It focused on the regulatory and competition challenges raised by new companies; such as the debate about the review of the current regulatory framework, the issues related to the role of technology and big data in pricing, the effect of surge prices from a competition law perspective and the emergence of alternative business models in the ride-sourcing industry (e.g. decentralised platforms).

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  • More OECD work on Competition

    Main areas of work include: Digital Economy and Innovation, Market Studies, International Co-operation, Evaluation of Competition Interventions, Fighting Bid Rigging in Public Procurement and Competition Assessment.

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Why does competition matter in regulated sectors?

Competition is about increasing choice and efficiency to benefit consumers and make the economy more productive.  This also applies to sectors which in many countries have been liberalised (such as electricity, water, railways and telecoms),  which are subject to regulation (banking and other financial services) or where the government plays an important role (healthcare, education and local public services).


These sectors can raise complex policy challenges, for example:

  • How to make sure that the behaviour of previous monopolist firms does not stifle competition in recently liberalised sectors?

  • Is there a conflict between introducing competition and security of supply in the energy sector?

  • What is the best way to ensure that consumers receive fair treatment when buying complex financial products – without limiting competition between providers?

  • How should enforcers deal with digital markets  as more and more consumers buy products and services online, listen to music and surf the Internet using mobile devices?

See also:

Recommendation on Competition Assessment

Recommendation on Structural Separation in Regulated Industries

List of all roundtable releases on Regulated Sectors

windmill water


List of all roundtable releases on Regulated Sectors



Latest discussions on Regulated Sectors

Co-operation between Competition Agencies and Regulators in the Financial Sector: 10 years on from the Financial Crisis, 2017

Market study methodologies for competition authorities, 2017

Radical Innovation in the Electricity Sector, 2017

Innovation in land transport, 2016

The role of market studies as a tool to promote competition, 2016

Disruptive innovations in legal services, 2016

Competition and disruptive innovation in financial markets, 2015

Liner Shipping, 2015

Disruptive Innovations, 2015

Competitive Neutrality, 2015

Oligopoly Markets, 2015


The OECD competition work in regulated sectors

The Competition Committee’s work in this area focuses on improving economic regulation and proposing the appropriate policies for competition to deliver more benefits for consumers and growth.  The Best Practice Roundtables identify key issues in each sector and present the latest developments to address those problems.  Many roundtable reports are also a valuable resource for advocating policy reform in a sector, for example by surveying regulations and policies in different countries. They also cover cross-cutting thematic issues, such as the role of behavioural economics in competition policy and price volatility in the case of commodities.

In addition, the OECD on occasion works with member countries to promote reform and foster its competitiveness, most recently in Mexico. Sectoral reports cover the pharmaceutical industry, banking, transportation and telecommunications.


‌‌‌Competition ‌Assessment Toolkit: Helping governments eliminate barriers to competition

The OECD Competition Assessment Toolkit was designed to help governments eliminate barriers to competition through a method that identifies unnecessary restraints on market activities and develops alternative, less restrictive measures that still achieve government policy objectives. 

Mexico: Strengthening  the competition and regulation framework

Read how Mexico is using the toolkit to improve its competitiveness. More...

Competitive Neutrality

State-owned and private businesses must compete on a equal level playing field. This is essential to achieve growth and development. Previous work on Competitive Neutrality.

Competition work on Competitive Netrality

Defining the Relevant Market in Telecommunications: Review of Selected OECD Countries and Colombia

This report sets out the experiences of OECD countries in applying the concept of market definition in the telecommunications sector, with a particular focus on triple- and quadruple-play services. Read more



bank, health, education, construction, ports


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