Competition policy responses to COVID-19


The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has provoked a public health crisis without precedent in living memory. In addition to causing large-scale loss of life and severe human suffering, the pandemic has also set in motion a major economic crisis that will burden our societies for years to come. The OECD is contributing to a co-ordinated policy response across countries and competition policy is one dimension of that response.

History has shown that the the same basic principles of competition economics apply during times of economic recession as during times of economic expansion. Sound competition policy is all the more important in moments of crisis to ensure that the crisis is solved and the subsequent economic recovery, as fast and sustained as possible. This requires competition authorities to act today to help the overall policy response of governments to deal with this crisis in a sustainable way. Governments need to be receptive to advice from competition authorities to make sure that competition principles can be respected and help pave the way to recovery.

This page groups competition-related responses that can help guide the actions of governments and competition authorities in today's challenging times. 



Frédéric Jenny

Diana Moss

Mark Powell

Peter Alexiadis

Massimo Motta 

John Davies 

Richard Whish 


Key materials

OECD competition policy responses to COVID-19  27/04/2020

This policy brief discusses how competition policy can help address the immediate challenges raised by the COVID crisis while preparing for the post-pandemic future. Also available in Spanish.


COVID-19: Competition policy actions for governments and competition authorities  30/04/2020

This short note outlines actions that governments and competition authorities can consider to help address the immediate challenges raised by the crisis whilst looking to the post-pandemic future. 


COVID-19: Managing operational challenges and enforcement risks for competition authorities  30/04/2020

This note looks at the operational challenges and enforcement risks for competition authorities arising from the crisis and the confinement measures and provides some guidance to authorities.  


COVID-19: Competition and emergency procurement  30/04/2020

This note examines the conditions when direct awards may be necessary for emergency reasons and provides guidance for procurement and competition authorities for when departing from competitive tenders may be justified.  


Merger control in the time of COVID-19  25/05/2020

In the context of COVID-19, this note analyses some key challenges related to merger control that competition authorities will face in the following months and presents open issues that require further discussion to ensure consistency across jurisdictions.


Exploitative pricing in the time of COVID-19  26/05/2020

This note analyses the role of competition agencies facing high prices caused by the Covid-19 crisis. It discusses the circumstances under which competition enforcement may be justified, how to overcome the difficulties that competition authorities pursuing such a course are likely to face, and available regulatory alternatives to address high prices during a pandemic.


Co-operation between competitors in the time of COVID-19  26/05/2020

This note identifies some of the criteria that competition authorities may consider when assessing co-operation between competitors in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, and presents solutions to some of the challenges raised by their analysis. Some potential issues are highlighted to prompt further discussion.

PODCAST: What lessons can we learn for competition and global markets?

In this podcast, Frederic Jenny, Professor of Economics at ESSEC Business School in Paris and chair of the OECD Competition Committee explores questions such as: Why have our economies been so badly affected by the coronavirus crisis? What questions does the crisis raise about globalisation, and about markets? Can competition policy help? How can governments be better prepared in future?


VIDEO: Economic resilience and competition policy in the time of COVID-19

In this video, Frederic Jenny, Professor of Economics at ESSEC and Chair of the OECD Competition Committee, shares his views on the impact of COVID-19 on global economies and how markets have responded to the social and economic challenges raised by the health and economic crisis that follows it. He also explores in particular the challenges faced by competition policy and authorities. 


PAPER: Economic Resilience, Globalisation and Market Governance: Facing the Covid-19 Test

This opinion piece by Frederic Jenny reflects on economic, competition and social policy issues in the time of COVID-19.

Related OECD Competition work
Competitive Neutrality (2015)

Competition, State Aids and Subsidies (2010)

Competition Policy, Industrial Policy and National Champions (2009)

Industrial Policy and the Promotion of Domestic Industry (2018)

OECD Recommendation on Hard-Core Cartels (2019)

OECD Competition Assessment Toolkit (2019)

Crisis Cartels (2011)

Exit Strategies (2010) 

Excessive Prices (2011)

Excessive Prices in Pharmaceutical Markets (2018)

Information Exchanges between Competitors under Competition Law (2010)

Interface between Competition and Consumer Policies (2008)

Public Interest Considerations in Merger Control (2016)

Failing Firm Defence (2009)

Related links

OECD Covid-19 Impact hub

OECD work on competition



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