Opening Keynote Speech: Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg
The conference opened with a keynote address delivered by Professor Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg (Chief Economist, The World Bank Group, Washington, DC; Elihu Professor of Economics, Yale University) on the nature of firms and market power in developing countries and the implications for competition policy.
As a general point of concern, Professor Goldberg stressed how firms in developing countries differ from their counterparts in developed countries and, hence, how critical it is to ascertain whether developing countries ought to adopt competition policies that differ from those of developed countries. To this end, Professor Goldberg explained that, generally, two major factors distinguish firms in developing countries from firms in developed economies: first, the large number of informal, very small and inefficient firms present in developing countries; second, certain forms of market power that are specific to developing countries, such as monopolies in the cement sector in Africa and cartels in the food or fertilizer industries. Professor Goldberg observed that most firms in developing countries who employ fewer than ten workers, are usually unregistered (informal), and thus invisible to the state – a phenomenon that is not specific to one country, but observable across most developing countries. In contrast, only a few firms in developing countries employ between two hundred and one thousand workers, and several of them are local subsidiaries of multinational companies (MNCs).