The Optimal Design, Organisation and Powers of Competition Authorities


Read the background note

  4 December 2023  Paris


Recent developments have raised the questions of what a modern competition authority should look like and how antitrust enforcers could or should adjust to meet the challenges for the future. Challenges include, but are not limited to, the increased importance of digitalisation, use of data and ecosystems (which go beyond the traditional horizontal/vertical relationships), increased concentration in many industries and economies, increasingly global markets and cross-border cases, sustainability concerns and the required support for green policies and the increasing government intervention in international markets.

A discussion on the optimal design of a competition agency can relate to many different issues, as it can cover every aspect of the governance of the authority, of its internal organisation, and of its relationship with the outside. In December 2023, the OECD held a roundtable on the ‘internal’ organisation (including the required skills and resources, investigative tools, procedures and enforcement powers), that can be of use to tackle contemporary challenges for competition authorities. Questions that were discussed during the discussion include:

  • What are some of the main challenges that competition authorities have encountered in recent years?
  • What types of expertise are necessary for competition authorities to maintain an up-to-date understanding of market realities in the industries they are investigating?
  • What can be considered an optimal set of investigative tools and procedures to address recent challenges?
  • What enforcement powers can make a difference when addressing recent challenges.

As such, the discussion did not focus on issues that relate to the objectives of a competition authority (or of competition policy more generally), where a competition authority is situated within the government and its independence (including its legal basis), the functionalities or mandate of an authority (e.g. single function vs. multifunctional), or the chosen governance model (such as prosecutorial vs. administrative or separation of adjudication and investigation roles).

This page contains all related documentation. 

See the full list of best practice roundtables on competition.


OECD Background Note | Note de référence de l'OCDE

Detailed Summary of the discussion EN | FR

Executive Summary with key findings EN | FR


Contributions from delegations


Canada EN | FR



France FR






New Zealand



United States

Summaries of contributions 

Changes in Institutional Design of Competition Authorities (2014/2015)

Optimal design of a Competition Agency (Session I) (2003)

Independence of competition authorities - from designs to practices (2016)

Advantages and Disadvantages of Competition Welfare Standards (2023)

The Goals of Competition Policy (2022)

Interactions between competition authorities and sector regulators (2022)

Consumer data rights and competition (2020)

Role of Competition in Financial Consumer Protection (2014)

The Interface between Competition and Consumer Policies (2008)

The Relationship between competition AUthorities and Sectoral Regulators (Session II) (2005) 

See also

OECD best practice roundtables on competition

More OECD work on competition


Related Documents