Virtual Institute member, the University of Jordan (UOJ), held an international conference on Economic Regulation and Competition Policy for Development: Practices and Challenges, January 27-28. The conference was attended by a host of academics and governments officials as well as students and interested guests from public and private sectors.
The conference came as a result of joint efforts and a partnership between UOJ, the College of Europe and the European Commission, as part of an EC cooperation agreement with the university which has already resulted in the introduction of a Master's Program in Regulation and Competition, the first in its field in the region.
The conference provided valuable opportunities for participants to exchange views on very timely and relevant economic issues ranging from economic regulation, competition policy, regulation in finance, accounting, public utilities, WTO regulation, economic reform, financial crises and market failures.
The first plenary session was co-chaired by UOJ's Vi member coordinator, Talib Awad. The first topic, "Economic openness and the need for regulation in Jordan," was presented by Director General of the Ministry of Industry, H.E. Dr. Mohammad Alhalaiqa, who analyzed the effects of regional crises on the country's economy. The second topic, "Facing the Regulatory Challenges of a New World - Are New Approaches, Structures and Institutions Required?" presented by Professor David Parker, considered the role of moral and social responsibility for the proper functioning of capitalist markets which tend to be led by self-interest motives.
The second plenary session began with a presentation by Edward Donelan, Senior Adviser of SIGMA, an OECD-EC project, who reviewed developments in regulatory reform and explained the concept of "better regulation," which recognises that improvements in the quality of regulations can bring about economic and social improvements. Donelan also described the principal tools and institutions used in improving the quality of legislation and considered the relevance of the EU ‘model’ of better regulation for developing and transition countries, including Jordan.
The final plenary session examined the relationship between "EU Regulation and EU Economic Performance." Professor Jacques Pelkmans, of the College of Europe, said that a review of the literature suggests that market reforms have boosted productivity. However, empirical research in this field is challenged by the question of how to quantify regulation and the absence of indicators on regulation with non-economic objectives.
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