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Competencia

Un juego ganar-ganar: De porqué más competencia implica más eficiencia para la economía

Por Rebeca Hernández

La competencia, como bien a ser tutelado por el Estado, está relacionada con la eficiencia económica y con la protección del interés público, particularmente el de la ciudadanía consumidora, y en forma indirecta, con la garantía de los derechos de las empresas competidoras que puedan verse afectadas por la comisión de prácticas anticompetitivas (sean éstas tipificadas como abusos de posición dominante, acuerdos voluntarios entre empresarios u otras incluidas en la normativa).

Para comprender el vínculo que existe entre la defensa de la competencia y la eficiencia económica, podemos partir por hacer una abstracción en donde se simplifique a la economía como un conjunto de intercambios de bienes o servicios entre productores (empresas) y consumidores que buscan maximizar el beneficio que obtienen del mercado.

En este contexto, se dice que un intercambio es “eficiente” (en el sentido de Pareto), “si éste no puede mejorar la situación de una de las partes, sin empeorar la de al menos otra”, o que al menos suceda, según la definición de eficiencia de Kaldor y Hicks, que “la utilidad perdida por unos, pueda ser (teóricamente) compensada por la ganancia en utilidad de otros”. Así, podemos decir que un país está maximizando su “eficiencia económica” si éste logra generar las condiciones adecuadas para que ocurran el mayor número posible de estos “intercambios eficientes” [1].

Cuando existen mercados perfectamente competitivos se da una asignación eficiente de los recursos en la economía porque los precios se ajustan para lograr que en los intercambios entre los individuos, las cantidades ofertadas se correspondan con las cantidades demandadas, de forma que todos los participantes se ven beneficiados, o al menos, que las mejoras en el bienestar de unos superen las pérdidas de otros. De esta forma, todos los intercambios que son valorados por productores y consumidores son efectivamente realizados, y solo se producen y consumen aquellas cantidades de bienes o servicios que simultáneamente minimizan los costos de quienes los elaboran y maximizan el bienestar de quienes los consumen.

Sin embargo, en la cotidianeidad, los mercados distan de comportarse en la forma competitiva prescrita por la teoría por diversas razones: existen agentes económicos que tienen la capacidad de establecer precios en forma independiente del resto de sus rivales y de sus clientes, barreras en los mercados que impiden el acceso de otras empresas para rivalizar con las que ya están en ellos, limitaciones en el acceso a la información y costos asociados a las transacciones, entre otros. Estas circunstancias causan las llamadas “fallas del mercado” o situaciones en las cuales el mercado no produce resultados eficientes.

Las fallas de mercado, junto con otras distorsiones que pueden estar contenidas en las regulaciones mismas del Estado, justifican la intervención de las autoridades de competencia. Para el caso salvadoreño, la Superintendencia de Competencia (SC) busca con su actuación, mejorar las condiciones de rivalidad y concurrencia en los mercados, y con ello, generar las condiciones necesarias para que ocurran estos intercambios eficientes, y que en particular, aumente el bienestar de quienes consumen.

Por ejemplo, cuando la SC identifica a través de un estudio sectorial que existe un grupo limitado de productores que se encuentra protegido contra la competencia efectiva de cualquier rival por una regulación determinada, ésta puede emitir una recomendación al ente fiscalizador de tal actividad económica para la reforma de dicha normativa. De ser ésta aplicada, la economía se vería beneficiada por el descenso en los precios que provocaría el incremento de la competencia con la entrada (potencial o efectiva) de más empresas.

Por una parte, quienes consumen se ven beneficiados por los ahorros que obtienen al pagar precios más bajos y porque ahora pueden adquirir bienes que antes no estaban a su alcance por tener un costo más alto. Mientras que, quienes ofertan se ven beneficiados con un clima de negocios más favorable para el surgimiento de nuevos emprendimientos¸ lo cual supera las pérdidas que podrían tener aquellos que estaban protegidos por la regulación. En general, se refuerzan los incentivos en la economía para que las empresas crezcan y se vuelvan más competitivas (mediante incrementos en las cantidades producidas, la inversión, innovación y desarrollo de productos y las mejoras de calidad).

De esta manera, con la intervención de la SC se promueve la eficiencia económica cuando se logra mayor competencia y que con ello crezca el tamaño del “pastel”, es decir, que aumenten las cantidades de bienes y servicios que son producidas y consumidas, y que también sea mayor la dimensión de las porciones que le corresponden a cada una de las partes involucradas en los intercambios, en especial, a la consumidora. Esta labor de promoción de la competencia fomenta así la ocurrencia en los mercados de un mayor número de esas transacciones o intercambios que incrementan el bienestar de sus participantes.

 

*La autora es economista, con un post-grado en técnicas estadísticas para la investigación y una maestría en política económica. Actualmente es colaboradora económica de la Intendencia Económica de la Superintendencia de Competencia.

– Los comentarios en este artículo expresan la opinión del autor –

[1] Wilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) fue un economista italiano que realizó contribuciones significativas a la teoría económica, particularmente, en el tema de la distribución del ingreso y la elección de los individuos. Nicholas Kaldor (1908-1986) y John Hicks (1904-1989) de nacionalidad húngara y británica respectivamente, también realizaron aportes diversos, entre los que se cuentan sus contribuciones a la teoría del consumidor y el bienestar.

172 Replies to “Un juego ganar-ganar: De porqué más competencia implica más eficiencia para la economía

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