Developing countries have been striving over the last decade to implement market-oriented reforms that would enhance their international competitiveness and development prospects. Part of such market-oriented reforms is the adoption of effective competition laws and regulations. However, for many reasons, in a number of developing countries this process has proven very difficult. Some countries are still struggling to adopt competition laws, while others have not been able to take steps towards their effective implementation. Behind these difficulties, there are a number of domestic political-economy constraints. This paper sheds light on the key factors that are behind such difficulties, quantifies empirically their impact and identifies ways in which the competition policy agenda can be successfully promoted.