Principles for a Successful Competition Agency

16 Pages Posted: 11 May 2006

See all articles by Timothy J. Muris

Timothy J. Muris

George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School


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.

Keywords: FTC, Federal Trade Commission, competition, public institutions

JEL Classification: D41, K21, L44

Suggested Citation

Muris, Timothy J., Principles for a Successful Competition Agency. University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 1, pp. 165-187, Winter 2005; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 06-24. Available at SSRN:

Timothy J. Muris (Contact Author)

George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-9421 (Phone)
703-993-8088 (Fax)

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