Market concentration in the us and europe too many mergers ?

Law & Economics workshop organised by Concurrences Review in partnership with Latham & Watkins and Frontier Economics.

Adrien Giraud

Over the past two years, a general consensus appears to have arisen: the US economy (and the EU’s to a lesser extent) is increasingly concentrated. For example, in March 2017, the University of Chicago Business School hosted a conference entitled “Is there a concentration problem in America?” and in October 2017 Joseph Stiglitz published a paper answering the question: America has a monopoly problem and it is huge.

Many academics and journalists have published papers addressing this issue. From a somewhat different and very new angle one of the related issues is that there is an increase in concentration that creates monopsony power in the labor market, which imposes a decrease in wages and a rise in inequalities (Eric Posner).

The workshop is divided in two parts. The first one tries to determine whether there is a concentration problem. Several indicators have been pointed out in the literature to show that there is a concentration issue, at least in the US. But, how reliable are these indicators? Are vaguely defined sectors better than antitrust defined markets? Is the rise in concentration always an antitrust issue? Are there similar trends in the EU? Is the decrease in the creation of new business a relevant indicator? Is the concertation issue synonym with organic growth where significant market power arises due to a superior product/business? Or is it synonym with M&A transactions?

[Photos © Théodore Boermans]

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  • Latham & Watkins (Brussels)
  • Frontier Economics (London)
  • DG COMP (Brussels)