This article examines the role of competition policy in developing countries. The leading international development agencies, such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, have proclaimed their support for private sector-led development as the best strategy for reducing poverty. The benefits of private sector development are dependent on ensuring competitive market conditions, which are often absent in developing countries. However, theoretical notions of competition and the ways in which it is perceived to work vary widely and have implications for the type of competition policy that is to be implemented. Competition laws are widespread in industrialized countries but are only just beginning to be introduced in developing countries. The article examines some of the implications of applying competition policy in developing countries when account is taken of different theoretical perspectives, and of the structural and institutional differences between industrialized and developing countries. Copyright 2002 CIRIEC.
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