CCCS-ESS Essay Competition

Topic: "Free Market and Buyers Beware? Where are we today and what is the optimal level of government intervention to protect competition and consumers in Singapore?"

Submission Deadline : 22 May 2020 

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Details of the Competition

Categories 'School’ & ‘Open’
Topic Brief

This competition invites participants to critically analyse the extent and nature to which the government should intervene in markets today to ensure they function well to meet both economic and social objectives. Specifically, participants are encouraged to explore if the current competition and consumer protection laws and policies are sufficient to address market failures, while preserving the competitive process needed to promote efficiency and innovation, given rapid technological changes and the rise of digital economy.

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Rules and Regulations

All entries must be written in English and accompanied by a completed entry form, signed by the author(s). For joint authorship, only one entry form is required. Submissions should not exceed 2500 words (including references, footnotes, tables, appendices, charts) and should be double-spaced, in Arial size 12 font, on A4-size paper with all pages numbered.

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Submissions Guidelines

Entries should be sent to cccs_corporate_communications@cccs.gov.sg no later than 2359 on 22 May 2020, Singapore timeEssays without the official entry form will be deemed to be incomplete and will not be included for judging. The organisers bear no responsibility for any entries which fail to reach the organisers by the stated deadline. Late entries will not be entertained.

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Partners

CCCS is partnering with the Economic Society of Singapore for this essay competition.

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Topic Brief

In a free market system, the forces of supply and demand prevail without government intervention in price determination. Firms are driven by profits, and competition among them drives down prices and spurs efficiency and innovation. Consumers decide what they want to buy, subject to the prices of goods and services and their income. Proponents of free market argue that such a system enables optimal allocation of scarce resources in a society, allowing capital to flow to where it will get the highest returns and enabling consumers to enjoy a variety of high-quality goods and services at competitive prices. 

However, critics of the free market have contended that market failures such as concentrated markets/monopolies, anti-competitive conduct, externalities, information asymmetry, market rigidities and unfair trade practices prevent markets from working well. In addition, free market may not be able to meet the basic/essential needs of people at affordable or reasonable prices. The free market system is also associated with capitalism which is often blamed for exacerbating income inequality. 

As such, ensuring the right amount of government intervention in free markets is necessary for economic efficiency, social equity and social stability. In many countries, it is common to have both competition and consumer protection laws, administered by government agencies, to ensure markets work well, albeit with varying levels of intervention. 

This competition invites participants to critically analyse the extent and nature to which the government should intervene in markets today to ensure they function well to meet both economic and social objectives. Specifically, participants are encouraged to explore if the current competition and consumer protection laws and policies are sufficient to address market failures, while preserving the competitive process needed to promote efficiency and innovation, given rapid technological changes and the rise of digital economy.


Eligibility

  • School Category - The competition is open to all post-secondary students (regardless of nationality) studying in Singapore in polytechnics, Centralised Institutes, international schools and junior colleges may apply. This includes students currently enrolled in the Integrated Programme (Year 5/6) or in the International Baccalaureate diploma programme. Current full-time national servicemen and/or students who have recently completed their education in the above-mentioned schools/programmes, and Singaporean students in such institutions/programmes (or equivalent) overseas may also participate.
     
  • Open Category – The competition is open to all individuals living in Singapore as well as Singaporeans living overseas (excluding those who qualify under the “school” category). 
     

Awards

The following awards will be given to the winning essays of each category (School/ Open):

1stPrize $3,000
2ndPrize $2,000
3rdPrize $1,000
Merit 3 x $300

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Rules and Regulations

1.   All entries must be written in English and accompanied by a completed entry form, signed by the author(s). For joint authorship, only one entry form is required.

2.   Entries must be the original work of the author(s) and must not have been submitted to any other competition organised by any other organisation or been previously published.  

3.  Submissions should not exceed 2500 words (including references, footnotes, tables, appendices, charts) and should be double-spaced, in Arial size 12 font, on A4-size paper with all pages numbered.  

4.   Each entry should be accompanied by a 300-word abstract that summarises the main points of the essay.  

5.   The author(s)' name should not appear anywhere in the abstract and in the main essay.

6.  Essays are to be submitted ONLY in Microsoft Word by email to cccs_corporate_communications@cccs.gov.sg. Receipt of essays will be acknowledged.    

7.   The deadline for essay submissions 2359 on 22 May 2020, Singapore time. No late submissions will be accepted.

8.   All essays will undergo a blind review process and will be assessed in confidence by an independent panel of judges based on original insight and ideas, clarity of expression, effective communication of ideas and well-substantiated concepts and arguments.

9.     By submitting to the CCCS-ESS essay competition, you are agreeing to allow the organisers publish your essay in print and online.

10.   Decisions made by the panel of judges shall be final. Awards will be presented at the ESS Annual Dinner 2020 to be held in August (actual date will be informed to winners). The judging panel reserves the right not to award any or all of the prizes. We regret that only winning participants will be contacted upon finalisation of the results. 

11.   Immediate family members of the contest organisers and judging panel are not eligible to enter the essay competition.  

12.   Enquiries on the CCCS-ESS Essay Competition should be sent to cccs_corporate_communications@cccs.gov.sg.

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Submission Guidelines

The essays should be original, and be well researched and informed based on the topic. 

Presentation

Charts, graphs, tables and infographics may be used.

Essays must be in English and typed double-spaced on one side of each sheet of paper. The essay should not exceed 2,500 words. This includes charts, tables, footnotes, references and appendices.

A summary of no more than 300 words highlighting the main points of the essay must also be provided.

Originality

Essays must be original in content. Entries found to contain plagiarism will automatically be disqualified.

Although essays may draw references from existing works, but they should be materially different from them in terms of analysis, style of arguments and perspectives. This could involve the application of previous works in a different context, or using new/different arguments, or applying new analysis or perspectives that significantly differ from previous works. A bibliography acknowledging references to existing works is required.

Submission

Entries should be sent to cccs_corporate_communications@cccs.gov.sg no later than 2359 on 22 May 2020, Singapore time:

  • Essays without the official entry form will be deemed to be incomplete and will not be included for judging.
  • The organisers bear no responsibility for any entries which fail to reach the organisers by the stated deadline.
  • Late entries will not be entertained.

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