Market concentration in the us and europe too many mergers ?

Conférence-déjeuner "Droit et économie de la concurrence" organisée par la Revue Concurrences en partenariat avec Latham & Watkins et 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)