Assessing the efficiency of competition agencies and related technical assistance programs

In this proposal, we envision two related studies that assess the efficiency of competition agencies and technical assistance programs using primarily a new dataset from the International Competition Network (ICN). The ICN survey is a compilation of nine surveys each directed at either different types of TA or a collection of information about each competition agency. Results of the survey were only made available on 12/23/2005; thus, we do not present summary analyses or general findings. We envision our first proposed study to be exploratory in nature, covering all of the surveys and perhaps partitioning the nations to consider possible cultural, geographic, and economic factors that explain mean responses to answers. Additionally, we anticipate developing and testing theories regarding agency and TA effectiveness in traditional methodology (i.e., limited dependent variable models) for survey assessment and hypothesis testing. We anticipate using several of the ICN surveys to conduct these hypotheses tests (see below for more details).

The second study follows from an emerging area of production analysis using directional distance functions (also called shortage functions) to disentangle sources of scope economies and to measure the technical impacts of TA programs. Here, we will focus on the survey entitled “data survey,” which is included in Appendix A. The overriding objective of both studies is to identify the most effective use of inputs and outputs by competition agencies and to determine the ways in which overlapping TA agencies are effective in enhancing the resource use and output mix of domestic competition agencies. The misapplication of competition policy through ineffective technical assistance or through ineffective allocation of resources within competition agencies are an obstacle to lifting developing nations from poverty and one which the existing literature has not addressed