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The Royal Economic Society annual public lecture
Download Competition economics (pdf 145 kb)
by John Vickers
Chairman, Office of Fair Trading
In 1853 William Gladstone, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, introduced an important measure of competition policy. He initiated reform of civil service recruitment so that entry was open to competition on the merits of the candidates. Queen Victoria, unamused, asked: 'Where is the application of the principle of public competitions to stop?'. That is a fine question. It is just as pertinent today, as is illustrated by questions ranging from mobile phone spectrum and airport slots to public procurement and the provision of public services.
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