Antitrust and Competition

Antitrust and Labor

Does antitrust have a labor market problem? The last few years have seen growing interest among academic scholars in the causes and effects of concentration in US labor markets. Concurrently (and not unrelated), there has been an explosion of interest among policymakers and the general public in the impact that firms with market power may have on wages and working conditions. What do the data say regarding employer concentration and its effect on workers? Is antitrust in its current form equipped to address issues related to labor market power? In an attempt to answer these questions and more, we have decided to launch a series of articles on antitrust and the labor market.

Corporate Governance

The system of formal and informal rules by which a company is governed. Corporate governance shapes more than just a given's company value - it dictates who controls the capital in the economy and so how this capital is being put the use. Corporate governance therefore affects and is affected by the degree of cronyism and rent-seeking in society.

Media

Effective media scrutiny can help mitigate many of the problems that lead to regulatory capture, by helping the polity to become informed and mobilized. But what are the conditions that create effective media scrutiny? And why do we observe so little of it in reality? “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.” Justice Louis D. Brandeis

Regulatory Capture

When regulation protects narrow interests – usually the interests of the incumbent industry – at the expense of the public interest. Capture occurs in various ways: from straightforward bribes and threats, to more implicit quid pro quos such as the lucrative future employment (revolving door), to softer forms of cognitive/cultural capture. “... as a rule, regulation is acquired by the industry and is designed and operated primarily for its benefit.” George Stigler - The Theory of Economic Regulation (1971)

Special interest groups

Special interest groups: Groups with preferences that differ from the preferences of the median voter. There is nothing wrong with special interests forming groups per se; the trouble starts when they disproportionally sway policy in their favor. “...the great enemy of democracy is monopoly, in all its forms: gigantic corporations, trade associations and other agencies for price control, trade-union… Effectively organized functional groups possess tremendous power for exploiting the community at large and even sabotaging the system.” Henry Calvert Simons - A Positive Program for Laissez Faire (1934)

How Pro-Competition Rules Can Benefit Consumers: A Look at the Wireless Industry

A new Stigler Center working paper examines the political factors that shape competition in the wireless sector around the world and finds that pro-competition rules...

“When There Isn't Enough Churning of Big Corporations, the Economy Stagnates”: Q&A with Bernard Yeung

Bernard Yeung, one of the predominantly non-U.S.-born economists who laid the foundations of scientific research on economic power concentration, offers insights relevant to the...

Revolving Doors in the Private Sector: Quid Pro Quo or Efficient Market Mechanism?

A new paper by Elisabeth Kempf from the University of Chicago looks into the performance of credit analysts who left to work for investment...

Could Blockchain Technology Alter the Balance of Power Within the Financial System? Q&A with David Yermack

"Blockchain technology is threatening to remake the financial system from the top down in a way that threatens the existence of all the banks,...

Monopsony Takes Center Stage

Bringing the powerful weapons the federal competition authorities have to bear on the problem of monopsony would be a substantial, but necessary departure from recent...

Managing Political Risk

A recent working paper suggests that firms react to political risk, both passively by cutting investment and employment, and actively by ramping up lobbying efforts. From Trump...

Stigler Center Event: David Yermack on Blockchains and the Future of Finance

Yermack, the Albert Fingerhut Professor of Finance and Business Transformation at New York University Stern School of Business, will teach a mini-course of three...

Do Mergers Benefit or Harm the Economy? Q&A with Bruce Blonigen

A new paper finds that mergers allow firms to raise prices, but finds no evidence that they improve productivity or efficiency. Do large mergers benefit or harm consumers? Over...

Democracy Against Domination: Overcoming Economic Power and Regulatory Failure in the New Gilded Age

The financial crisis—and the limits of our regulatory response to the crash—offer important lessons for our broader understandings of how to conceptualize and institutionalize...

Watch: Deutsche Bank Whistleblower Eric Ben-Artzi Explains What it Takes to Blow the Whistle on Fraud

Ben-Artzi: "The problem is not that you have misbehavior on Wall Street. It's that you have misbehavior by the people who are supposed to...

Latest news

New Study Warns Antitrust Inaction May Lead To Acceptable Collusion for Public Policy Considerations

The modernization of EU antitrust laws muddied the water with regard to the ways that antitrust authorities and courts should handle situations...

Dark Money Dominates Spending by Special Interest Groups and Sways Elections

New research on undisclosed and unlimited political contributions, or dark money, exposes the increasing role that such funds play in U.S. elections.

The “Conspiracy” of Consumer Welfare Theory

Matt Stoller argues there was a conspiracy. It was more of an association with a singular purpose.

Researchers Find Reduced Competition After Pandemic

The chart of the week comes from a new research paper that documents the increase in small business closures during the Covid...

Voters Still Believe Politics is About the Common Good, Not Just Rent-Seeking

Do voters still believe that politics can be a source for common-good policies and not just partisan bickering and rent-seeking? With political...

How to Design Data Protection Laws That Actually Work 

More and more countries are passing data protection laws, yet empirical studies show that these laws rarely deliver on their promises. A...

Are Monopolists or Cartels the True Source of Anticompetitive US Political Power?

Trade associations are often the biggest obstacles to competitive markets, especially when those organizations use their influence to change public policy in...