Principles for a Successful Competition Agency


As Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission and throughout my career, I have reflected on what makes public institutions successful.  Part I of this Essay provides a framework for defining success in government agencies.  Building on that definition, Part II offers six guiding principles for an effective competition agency.  These principles focus not just on the goals for successful policy, but also on how such policy should be created and implemented.  Of course, good policy based on sound economics and profound respect for fundamental legal principles is essential.  Nonetheless, no matter how well crafted a policy may be, no public institution achieves success without a coherent strategy for exercising its authority and spending its resources wisely.  Strong policy ideas must be married to effective implementation.

While discussing these guiding principles, I describe the consensus that was developed regarding the proper goals of competition policy.  I conclude in Part III with brief comments on areas of disagreement.  This discussion largely serves to underscore, not to undermine, the extent of the modern consensus regarding the proper goals of competition policy.