The premise of a market economy is that broad-based economic gains come from a well-functioning market. Yet there is evidence that growing economic inequality is undermining our society’s ability to act collectively in pursuit of the nation’s welfare. When stakeholders who comprise economic systems subvert institutions for their own gain, the economy loses. If markets are becoming less competitive, the resulting increase in monopoly power could be contributing to these problems.
New data-driven research provides more evidence that markets are increasingly concentrated and that, in many cases, this is indicative of a reduction in competition. Markups, the traditional measure of monopoly power, are growing. Investment and new business start-ups have been falling steadily even as corporate profits are rising. At the same time, labor income as a share of national income is falling. Does the economy suffer from a monopoly problem and, if so, why, and what are the larger implications?
We are interested in research from an aggregate perspective, which has been common in the macroeconomic and labor literatures, as well as sectoral analysis that has been the focus of industrial organization literatures.
- The causes of increased concentration
- Consequences of concentration for productivity, investment, and economic growth
- Consequences of concentration for labor markets and power
Explore the Grants We've Awarded
Measuring firms’ labor market power in the United States
Competitive effects of mergers with regulatory divestiture of assets: Evidence from airline industry
A unified analysis of declining dynamism and rising mark-ups
Labor market concentration and welfare
The causal effect of antitrust enforcement
Business dynamics on American Indian Reservations: Understanding the role of the gaming industry and secondary employment growth
Columbia UniversityLearn More
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyLearn More
Harvard UniversityLearn More
U.S. Census BureauLearn More
Joan C. Williams
University of California, Hastings College of LawLearn More