Business, Markets and Government in the Asia Pacific: Competition Policy, Convergence and Pluralism

Business, Markets and Government in the Asia Pacific: Competition Policy, Convergence and Pluralism

Business, Markets and Government in the Asia Pacific: Competition Policy, Convergence and Pluralism

Business, Markets and Government in the Asia Pacific: Competition Policy, Convergence and Pluralism

Synopsis

In this meticulously researched study, the contributors analyze often thorny issues of industrial organization, competition policy and liberalization in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Excerpt

Rong-I Wu and Yun-Peng Chu

The interrelationship between business, markets and government is academically intriguing and practically important, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, where a whole spectrum of different economic systems at different stages of development is in evidence. As the fastest growing region in the world, the Asia Pacific is also a natural laboratory to test the many different hypotheses posed by both economists and policy-makers.

One such hypothesis is that of 'convergence'. For the governance structure in business and markets, this means convergence to a uniform mode of business operation in a uniform type of market. For competition policy, it denotes harmonisation of competition policies across countries. For regulatory reform, it means convergence to a particular mode of government deregulation of the markets and privatisation of state enterprises.

A competing and diametrically opposed hypothesis is that of 'pluralism'. For the governance structure, this means the coexistence of different patterns for different economies, or even for different markets and sectors in the same economy. For competition policy, this means that different economies should choose a competition policy that is best for them; in some cases, it could mean the absence of policy. For regulatory reform, this means the coexistence of different patterns or paths taken by the authorities, and perhaps desirably, or in some cases inevitably, so.

One hypothesis that lies somewhere between the above two extremes is that of 'gradualism', which takes the view that institutional changes in the Asia Pacific region are evolutionary. Certainly, it is obvious that different economies start from different points on the spectrum of economic systems, and at different stages of development. Pluralistic development is only to be expected given these different initial conditions as well as the different forces at work. Convergence is not precluded, nor is stable pluralism—in some cases, the former can be viewed as a useful concept in analysing evolutionary changes; in other cases, it is the latter that has more explanatory power. What is more interesting is not convergence or stable pluralism in itself but how and why institutional reforms occur in different economies.

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