Increasing Market Concentration – Update October 2020

Increasung Market Concentration – Update October 2020

In this post I have compiled several newly published papers books and articles on the subject of Increasing market concentration. Mainly in 2019 and 2020.

Books
  • The Curse of Bigness
  • The Myth of Capitalism
Several new reserach papers were published by
  • Cato Institute
  • Brookings Institution
  • Federal Reserve

Reports

Rational decision making by the firms

  • Organic Growth – Use business investments to grow business – During growth phase of the firm and the industry
  • Inorganic Growth – Use Mergers and Acquisitions to grow – During mature phase and Declining Markets due to Technological Changes
  • Casacading effects
    • Leaders merge
    • Laggards merge
    • Suppliers merge
  • Micro Motives and Macro Behavior
  • What is good for a firm, May not be good for economy

Key Terms

  • Shareholder Capitalism
  • Market Concentration
  • Industry Concentration
  • Horizontal Merger
  • Verical Merger
  • Mergers and Acquisition
  • Competition Policy
  • Profits and Profitability
  • Corporate Finance
  • Anti Trust Laws
  • Industry Consolidation
  • Capitalism
  • Market Share
  • Competitive Dynamics
  • Organic Growth
  • Inorganic Growth
  • Business Investments
  • Macro Growth
  • Market Maturity
  • Product Life Cycles
  • Technological Changes
  • Wealth and Income Inequality
  • Monopoly
  • Oligopoly
  • Cross Border Mergers
  • Innovation based Mergers in Technology
  • HHI

My Related Posts

Shareholder Capitalism: Rising Market Concentration, Slower Productivity Growth, Rising Inequality, Rising Profits, and Rising Equities Markets

Rising Market Concentration and Declining Business Investments in the USA – Update June 2018

Rising Profits, Rising Inequality, and Rising Industry Concentration in the USA

Competition, Concentration, and Anti-Trust Laws in the USA

Concentration, Investment, and Growth

Increasing Market Concentration in USA: Update April 2019

Mergers and Acquisitions – Long Term Trends and Waves

The Decline in Long Term Real Interest Rates

Low Interest Rates and Business Investments : Update August 2017

Business Investments and Low Interest Rates

Why do Firms buyback their Shares? Causes and Consequences.

Cash and Investments: Corporate Savings Glut in USA

Key sources of Research

What if Rising Concentration were an Indication of More Cimpetition, not Less?

Causes, Consequences, and Policy Responses to Market Concentration

The Rise of Corporate Market Power

Market Concentration Is Threatening the U.S. Economy

The United States’s low-growth/high-inequality problem is due to too few firms holding too much power.CHAZEN GLOBAL INSIGHTSJoseph E. Stiglitz March 12, 2019 

https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/articles/chazen-global-insights/market-concentration-threatening-us-economy

Increasing market concentration in Europe is more likely to be a sign of strength than a cause for concern 

Tommaso Bighelli, Filippo di Mauro, Marc Melitz, Matthias Mertens  13 October 2020

https://voxeu.org/article/increasing-market-concentration-europe-more-likely-be-sign-strength-cause-concern

The Economics and Politics of Market Concentration

Thomas Philippon

https://www.nber.org/reporter/2019number4/economics-and-politics-market-concentration

The Great Consolidation:
Industry and Equity Market Concentration after the Crisis

Top 5 Highly Concentrated Manufacturing Industries

by Marisa Lifschutz, Senior Analyst – Team Lead 
May 02 2019 

https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-insider/analyst-insights/top-5-highly-concentrated-manufacturing-industries/

How Market Power has Increased US Inequality

Are Markets Becoming Less Competitive?

Federal Reserve of Richmond

2019

https://www.richmondfed.org/publications/research/economic_brief/2019/eb_19-06/

Trends in Financial Market Concentration and Their Implications for Market Stability

Is Rising Concentration Hampering Productivity Growth?

Peter J. Klenow, Huiyu Li, and Theodore Naff

Rising Bank Concentration

Dean CorbaeUniversity of Wisconsin – Madison and NBER

Pablo D’Erasmo

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

https://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/staff-reports/rising-bank-concentration

Are Markets Too Concentrated?

Industries are increasingly concentrated in the hands of fewer firms. But is that a bad thing?Article by: Tim Sablik

Richmond Federal Reserve

https://www.richmondfed.com/publications/research/econ_focus/2018/q1/cover_story

Have Acquisitions of Failed Banks Increased the Concentration of U.S. Banking Markets? 

By Wheelock, David C.

https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-257675083/have-acquisitions-of-failed-banks-increased-the-concentration

Large Banks Improve Competition and Consumer Choice in Local Markets

Sean Campbell•20 May 2019•

https://www.fsforum.com/types/press/blog/large-banks-improve-competition-consumer-choice/

Low Interest Rates Don’t Drive Market Concentration

A critical assessment of Atif Mian, Amir Sufi and Ernest Liu’s paper 

https://nathantankus.substack.com/p/low-interest-rates-dont-drive-market

Market Power and Monetary Policy

Speech given by

Andrew G Haldane Chief Economist Bank of England

Competition and Productivity: A Review of Evidence

Thomas J. Holmes

University of Minnesota,
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis,
and National Bureau of Economic Research

James A. Schmitz, Jr.
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

2010

Understanding market concentration: internet-based applications from the banking industry

Abstract

Fred H. Hays
University of Missouri-Kansas City

Sidne Gail Ward University of Missouri-Kansas City

Concentration, market power and dynamism in the euro area

Monopoly Myths: Are Markets Becoming More Concentrated?

Joe Kennedy 

June 29, 2020

https://itif.org/publications/2020/06/29/monopoly-myths-are-markets-becoming-more-concentrated

BENEFITS OF COMPETITION AND INDICATORS

2016

Council of Economic Advisors

Obama whitehouse

Why Is the Stock Market So Strong When the Economy Is Weak?

The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition

Jonathan TepperDenise Hearn (With)

ISBN: 978-1-119-54819-5 November 2018 320 Pages

https://www.wiley.com/en-us/The+Myth+of+Capitalism%3A+Monopolies+and+the+Death+of+Competition-p-9781119548195

Number of Banks in USA

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/USNUM

Number of Listed Companies in USA

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DDOM01USA644NWDB

Long-Term Government Bond Yields: 10-year: Main (Including Benchmark) for the United States 

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/IRLTLT01USM156N

Mergers and Acquisitions Data for USA and Worldwide

http://www.imaa-institute.org

Market Power, Inequality, and Financial Instability

Isabel Cair ́o and Jae Sim 

2020-057

What Happened to U.S. Business Dynamism?1

Ufuk Akcigit and Sina T. Ates

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/notes/feds-notes/what-happened-to-us-business-dynamism-20200214.htm

Untangling the Complex Causes of Inequality

December 4, 2018

https://www.frbatlanta.org/economy-matters/economic-research/2018/12/04/untangling-the-complex-causes-of-income-wealth-and-opportunity-inequality

Capitalism is not the source of our economic struggles

The real culprit is less obvious but can be remedied

Increased corporate concentration and the influence of market power

The New Economic Concentration

The competition that justifies capitalism is being destroyed—by capitalists.

BY DAVID DAYEN

JANUARY 16, 2019

https://prospect.org/power/new-economic-concentration/

SUPPLEMENTAL NOTES ON MARKET CONCENTRATION AND MARKET POWER

By
Dennis L. Weisman

The Curse of Bigness
Antitrust in the New Gilded Age

The Curse of Bigness by Tim Wu

Competition, Concentration, and Anti-Trust Laws in the USA

Competition, Concentration, and Anti-Trust Laws in the USA

 

Currently the US FTC has been having hearings on concentration, competition, and anti-trust laws in the USA.  Several conferences are organized starting with September 2018.  I present links to hearings details and videos of the sessions.  As of now, two hearings have already taken place.  I have given the links to the third hearing below.  Economists Joe Stiglitz and Jason Furman have given speeches and presentations during first and second hearings.

Key Sources of Research:

Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century

Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century

The Federal Trade Commission will hold a series of public hearings during the fall and winter 2018 examining whether broad-based changes in the economy, evolving business practices, new technologies, or international developments might require adjustments to competition and consumer protection law, enforcement priorities, and policy. The PDF version of this content includes footnotes and sources. All the hearings will be webcast live.

 

https://www.ftc.gov/policy/hearings-competition-consumer-protection

Click to access hearings-announcement_0.pdf

 

 

Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century: Opening Session

September 14, 2018

DAVIS POLK

 

Click to access 2018-09-14_hearings_on_competition_consumer_protection_in_21st_century.pdf

 

 

FTC Hearing #1: Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century

Hearing #1 On Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century, September 13-14, 2018

 

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/events-calendar/2018/09/ftc-hearing-1-competition-consumer-protection-21st-century

Click to access agenda-hearings-georgetown_3.pdf

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/audio-video/video/competition-consumer-protection-21st-century-welcome-session-1

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/audio-video/video/competition-consumer-protection-21st-century-welcome-session-2

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/audio-video/video/competition-consumer-protection-21st-century-welcome-session-3

 

 

 

 

FTC Hearing #2: Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century

FTC Hearing #2: Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century

 

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2018/09/ftc-announces-second-session-hearings-competition-consumer

Click to access hearings-agenda-cc-sept_0.pdf

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/audio-video/video/ftc-hearing-2-competition-consumer-protection-21st-century-state-us-0

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/audio-video/video/ftc-hearing-2-competition-consumer-protection-21st-century-state-us

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/audio-video/video/ftc-hearing-2-competition-consumer-protection-21st-century-monopsony

 

FTC Hearing #3: Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century

FTC Hearing #3: Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century - George Mason University

 

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/events-calendar/2018/10/ftc-hearing-3-competition-consumer-protection-21st-century

 https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_events/1413712/hearings-agenda-gmu_5.pdf

THE UNITED STATES HAS A MARKET CONCENTRATION PROBLEM

REVIEWING CONCENTRATION ESTIMATES IN ANTITRUST MARKETS, 2000-PRESENT

 

ISSUE BRIEF BY ADIL ABDELA AND MARSHALL STEINBAUM

SEPTEMBER 2018

 

Click to access ftc-2018-0074-d-0042-155544.pdf

 

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says the US has a major monopoly problem

https://www.businessinsider.com/joseph-stiglitz-says-the-us-has-a-major-monopoly-problem-2018-9

 

 

Competition Conference 2018

What’s the Evidence for Strengthening Competition Policy?

Boston University

http://sites.bu.edu/tpri/news-and-events/competition-conference-2018/

http://sites.bu.edu/tpri/competition-conference-2018-program-and-papers/

 

Slower Productivity and Higher Inequality: Are They Related?

Jason Furman and Peter Orszag

June 2018

 

Click to access wp18-4.pdf

 

 

 

Market Power and Monetary Policy

Speech given by

Andrew G Haldane Chief Economist Bank of England

Co-authors: Tommaso Aquilante, Shiv Chowla, Nikola Dacic, Riccardo Masolo, Patrick Schneider, Martin Seneca and Srdan Tatomir.

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Economic Policy Symposium Jackson Hole, Wyoming

24 August 2018

 

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/speech/2018/market-power-and-monetary-policy-speech-by-andy-haldane.pdf?la=en&hash=ECC7B63705847EC5E68DEFC86C56B887B9DBD0CD

Concentration, Investment, and Growth

Concentration, Investment, and Growth

 

Recent Economic Policy Symposium at Jackson Hole Wyoming (August 23-25) where economists, central bankers, policy makers gather together annually discussed issues of Rising Market Concentration, Declining Business Investments, and Declining Economic Dynamism.

2018 Economic Policy Symposium, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

https://www.kansascityfed.org/publications/research/escp/symposiums/escp-2018

 

 

Richmond Federal Reserve Bank published an article on Market Concentration.

Are Markets Too Concentrated?

Industries are increasingly concentrated in the hands of fewer firms. But is that a bad thing?

 

Click to access cover_story.pdf

Click to access full_issue.pdf

 

 

Washington Post published a story on market concentration in US companies.

Are U.S. Companies Too Big and Powerful? The Fed Wants to Know

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/are-us-companies-too-big-and-powerful-the-fed-wants-to-know/2018/08/23/35891356-a6b0-11e8-ad6f-080770dcddc2_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9cb83dadde89

 

 

 

OECD held a joint conference with the World Bank and the IMF on Product Market Concentration, Inclusive Growth, and Regulation at OECD HQ, Paris, France. 11 June, 2018.

http://www.oecd.org/eco/reform/joint-imf-wb-oecd-conf-structural-reform-2018/

 

 

Please see my related posts

Rising Market Concentration and Declining Business Investments in the USA – Update June 2018

Shareholder Capitalism: Rising Market Concentration, Slower Productivity Growth, Rising Inequality, Rising Profits, and Rising Equities Markets

 

Shareholder Capitalism: Rising Market Concentration, Slower Productivity Growth, Rising Inequality, Rising Profits, and Rising Equities Markets

Shareholder Capitalism: Rising Market Concentration, Slower Productivity Growth, Rising Inequality, Rising Profits, and Rising Equities Markets

 

Public traded companies are always under pressure to show earnings growth and sales revenue growth to enhance shareholder value.

 

How do they do it when markets have matured and economy has slowed?

  • Lower Costs
  • Increase Market Share
  • Find New Markets
  • Diversify
  • Create New products and servicces

 

How do then companies lower their costs?

  • Vertical Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Outsourcing (Sourcing parts and components / Intermediate Goods / Inputs from cross border)
  • Offshoring (Shifting Production cross border)
  • Vertical Integration

 

How do then companies increase their market share?

  • Horizontal Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Cross Border Markets Share (Sales in other countries)

 

In the last thirty years, this is exactly what has happened in US economy.

Macro Trends of increase in Outsourcing/Offshoring, Increase in Market Concentration, Increase in Inequality, Increase in Corporate Profits, Rising Equity Prices, Slower Productivity Growth, Lower Interest Rates, Low Labor Share, and Capital Share.

Please see my other posts expanding on these issues.

Please note that these forces are continuing and trends will remain on current trajectory.

 

Key Terms:

  • Stakeholder vs Shareholder Capitalism
  • Short Termism
  • Slow Productivity Growth
  • Rising Market Concentration
  • Rising Profits
  • Rising Equities Market
  • Rising Inequality
  • Dupont Ratio Analysis
  • Financial Planning (Micro – Firm Level)
  • Economic Planning (Macro- Aggregate Level)
  • Quarterly Capitalism

 

From SHAREHOLDER CAPITALISM: A SYSTEM IN CRISIS

Our current, highly financialised, form of shareholder capitalism is not just failing to provide new capital for investment, it is actively undermining the ability of listed companies to reinvest their own profits. The stock market has become a vehicle for extracting value from companies, not for injecting it.

No wonder that Andy Haldane, Chief Economist of the Bank of England, recently suggested that shareholder capitalism is ‘eating itself.’1 Corporate governance has become dominated by the need to maximise short-term shareholder returns. At the same time, financial markets have grown more complex, highly intermediated, and similarly shorttermist, with shares increasingly seen as paper assets to be traded rather than long term investments in sound businesses.

This kind of trading is a zero-sum game with no new wealth, let alone social value, created. For one person to win, another must lose – and increasingly, the only real winners appear to be the army of financial intermediaries who control and perpetuate the merry-goround. There is nothing natural or inevitable about the shareholder-owned corporation as it currently exists. Like all economic institutions, it is a product of political and economic choices which can and should be remade if they no longer serve our economy, society, or environment.

Here’s the impact this shareholder model is currently having:
• Economy: Shareholder capitalism is holding back productive investment. Even the Chief Executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has admitted that pressure to keep the share price high means corporate leaders are ‘underinvesting in innovation, skilled workforces or essential capital expenditures.’ 2
• Society: Shareholder capitalism is driving inequality. There is growing evidence that attempts to align executive pay with shareholder value are largely responsible for the ballooning of salaries at the top. The prioritisation of shareholder interests has also contributed to a dramatic decline in UK wages relative to profits, helping to explain the failure of ordinary people’s living standards to rise in line with economic growth.
• Environment: Shareholder capitalism helps to drive environmental destruction. It does this by driving risky shortterm behaviour, such as fossil fuel extraction, which ignores long-term environmental risks.

The idea that shareholder capitalism is the most efficient way to mobilise large amounts of capital is no longer tenable.

We need both to create new models of companies, and implement new ways of organising investment that are fit for building an inclusive, equal, and sustainable economy.

Companies should be explicitly accountable to a mission and a set of interests beyond shareholder returns. Equally, investment must provide long-term capital for socially and environmentally useful projects, and damaging forms of speculation must be restricted.

For most people, our economy simply is not working, and the damaging aspects of shareholder capitalism are at least in part responsible. Reforming shareholder capitalism must not be dismissed as too difficult – the crisis is too urgent for that. We can take the first steps towards a better economic model right now. It’s time to act.

 

 

A Crash Course in Dupont Financial Ratio Analysis

 

  • What happens when economic growth slows ?
  • What happens when profit margins decline ?
  • What happens when Sales growth is limited ?
  • What does lead to Mergers and Acquisitions ?
  • What is the impact of Cost of Capital ?
  • What is EVA (Economic Value Added) ?
  • What is impact of Outsourcing/Offshoring on Financial Ratios ?
  • What is impact of Mergers and Acquisitions on Financial Ratios ?
  • What is impact of Stock Buy Backs on Financial Ratios ?
  • What is impact of Dividends on Financial Ratios ?
  • ROS (Return on Sales)
  • ROE (Return on Equities)
  • ROA (Return on Assets)
  • ROIC (Return on Invested Capital)
  • EVA (Economic Value Added)
  • MVA (Market Value Added)

From The DuPont Equation, ROE, ROA, and Growth

The DuPont Equation

The DuPont equation is an expression which breaks return on equity down into three parts: profit margin, asset turnover, and leverage.

Learning Objectives

Explain why splitting the return on equity calculation into its component parts may be helpful to an analyst

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • By splitting ROE into three parts, companies can more easily understand changes in their returns on equity over time.
  • As profit margin increases, every sale will bring more money to a company’s bottom line, resulting in a higher overall return on equity.
  • As asset turnover increases, a company will generate more sales per asset owned, resulting in a higher overall return on equity.
  • Increased financial leverage will also lead to an increase in return on equity, since using more debt financing brings on higher interest payments, which are tax deductible.

Key Terms

  • competitive advantage: something that places a company or a person above the competition

The DuPont Equation

image

DuPont Model: A flow chart representation of the DuPont Model.

The DuPont equation is an expression which breaks return on equity down into three parts. The name comes from the DuPont Corporation, which created and implemented this formula into their business operations in the 1920s. This formula is known by many other names, including DuPont analysis, DuPont identity, the DuPont model, the DuPont method, or the strategic profit model.

The DuPont Equation: In the DuPont equation, ROE is equal to profit margin multiplied by asset turnover multiplied by financial leverage.

Under DuPont analysis, return on equity is equal to the profit margin multiplied by asset turnover multiplied by financial leverage. By splitting ROE (return on equity) into three parts, companies can more easily understand changes in their ROE over time.

Components of the DuPont Equation: Profit Margin

Profit margin is a measure of profitability. It is an indicator of a company’s pricing strategies and how well the company controls costs. Profit margin is calculated by finding the net profit as a percentage of the total revenue. As one feature of the DuPont equation, if the profit margin of a company increases, every sale will bring more money to a company’s bottom line, resulting in a higher overall return on equity.

Components of the DuPont Equation: Asset Turnover

Asset turnover is a financial ratio that measures how efficiently a company uses its assets to generate sales revenue or sales income for the company. Companies with low profit margins tend to have high asset turnover, while those with high profit margins tend to have low asset turnover. Similar to profit margin, if asset turnover increases, a company will generate more sales per asset owned, once again resulting in a higher overall return on equity.

Components of the DuPont Equation: Financial Leverage

Financial leverage refers to the amount of debt that a company utilizes to finance its operations, as compared with the amount of equity that the company utilizes. As was the case with asset turnover and profit margin, Increased financial leverage will also lead to an increase in return on equity. This is because the increased use of debt as financing will cause a company to have higher interest payments, which are tax deductible. Because dividend payments are not tax deductible, maintaining a high proportion of debt in a company’s capital structure leads to a higher return on equity.

The DuPont Equation in Relation to Industries

The DuPont equation is less useful for some industries, that do not use certain concepts or for which the concepts are less meaningful. On the other hand, some industries may rely on a single factor of the DuPont equation more than others. Thus, the equation allows analysts to determine which of the factors is dominant in relation to a company’s return on equity. For example, certain types of high turnover industries, such as retail stores, may have very low profit margins on sales and relatively low financial leverage. In industries such as these, the measure of asset turnover is much more important.

High margin industries, on the other hand, such as fashion, may derive a substantial portion of their competitive advantage from selling at a higher margin. For high end fashion and other luxury brands, increasing sales without sacrificing margin may be critical. Finally, some industries, such as those in the financial sector, chiefly rely on high leverage to generate an acceptable return on equity. While a high level of leverage could be seen as too risky from some perspectives, DuPont analysis enables third parties to compare that leverage with other financial elements that can determine a company’s return on equity.

ROE and Potential Limitations

Return on equity measures the rate of return on the ownership interest of a business and is irrelevant if earnings are not reinvested or distributed.

Learning Objectives

Calculate a company’s return on equity

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Return on equity is an indication of how well a company uses investment funds to generate earnings growth.
  • Returns on equity between 15% and 20% are generally considered to be acceptable.
  • Return on equity is equal to net income (after preferred stock dividends but before common stock dividends) divided by total shareholder equity (excluding preferred shares ).
  • Stock prices are most strongly determined by earnings per share (EPS) as opposed to return on equity.

Key Terms

  • fundamental analysis: An analysis of a business with the goal of financial projections in terms of income statement, financial statements and health, management and competitive advantages, and competitors and markets.

Return On Equity

Return on equity (ROE) measures the rate of return on the ownership interest or shareholders’ equity of the common stock owners. It is a measure of a company’s efficiency at generating profits using the shareholders’ stake of equity in the business. In other words, return on equity is an indication of how well a company uses investment funds to generate earnings growth. It is also commonly used as a target for executive compensation, since ratios such as ROE tend to give management an incentive to perform better. Returns on equity between 15% and 20% are generally considered to be acceptable.

The Formula

Return on equity is equal to net income, after preferred stock dividends but before common stock dividends, divided by total shareholder equity and excluding preferred shares.

Return On Equity: ROE is equal to after-tax net income divided by total shareholder equity.

Expressed as a percentage, return on equity is best used to compare companies in the same industry. The decomposition of return on equity into its various factors presents various ratios useful to companies in fundamental analysis.

ROE Broken Down: This is an expression of return on equity decomposed into its various factors.

The practice of decomposing return on equity is sometimes referred to as the “DuPont System. ”

Potential Limitations of ROE

Just because a high return on equity is calculated does not mean that a company will see immediate benefits. Stock prices are most strongly determined by earnings per share (EPS) as opposed to return on equity. Earnings per share is the amount of earnings per each outstanding share of a company’s stock. EPS is equal to profit divided by the weighted average of common shares.

Earnings Per Share: EPS is equal to profit divided by the weighted average of common shares.

The true benefit of a high return on equity comes from a company’s earnings being reinvested into the business or distributed as a dividend. In fact, return on equity is presumably irrelevant if earnings are not reinvested or distributed.

Assessing Internal Growth and Sustainability

Sustainable– as opposed to internal– growth gives a company a better idea of its growth rate while keeping in line with financial policy.

Learning Objectives

Calculate a company’s internal growth and sustainability ratios

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • The internal growth rate is a formula for calculating the maximum growth rate a firm can achieve without resorting to external financing.
  • Sustainable growth is defined as the annual percentage of increase in sales that is consistent with a defined financial policy.
  • Another measure of growth, the optimal growth rate, assesses sustainable growth from a total shareholder return creation and profitability perspective, independent of a given financial strategy.

Key Terms

  • retention: The act of retaining; something retained
  • retention ratio: retained earnings divided by net income
  • sustainable growth rate: the optimal growth from a financial perspective assuming a given strategy with clear defined financial frame conditions/ limitations

Internal Growth and Sustainability

The true benefit of a high return on equity arises when retained earnings are reinvested into the company’s operations. Such reinvestment should, in turn, lead to a high rate of growth for the company. The internal growth rate is a formula for calculating maximum growth rate that a firm can achieve without resorting to external financing. It’s essentially the growth that a firm can supply by reinvesting its earnings. This can be described as (retained earnings)/(total assets ), or conceptually as the total amount of internal capital available compared to the current size of the organization.

We find the internal growth rate by dividing net income by the amount of total assets (or finding return on assets ) and subtracting the rate of earnings retention. However, growth is not necessarily favorable. Expansion may strain managers’ capacity to monitor and handle the company’s operations. Therefore, a more commonly used measure is the sustainable growth rate.

Sustainable growth is defined as the annual percentage of increase in sales that is consistent with a defined financial policy, such as target debt to equity ratio, target dividend payout ratio, target profit margin, or target ratio of total assets to net sales.

We find the sustainable growth rate by dividing net income by shareholder equity (or finding return on equity) and subtracting the rate of earnings retention. While the internal growth rate assumes no financing, the sustainable growth rate assumes you will make some use of outside financing that will be consistent with whatever financial policy being followed. In fact, in order to achieve a higher growth rate, the company would have to invest more equity capital, increase its financial leverage, or increase the target profit margin.

Optimal Growth Rate

Another measure of growth, the optimal growth rate, assesses sustainable growth from a total shareholder return creation and profitability perspective, independent of a given financial strategy. The concept of optimal growth rate was originally studied by Martin Handschuh, Hannes Lösch, and Björn Heyden. Their study was based on assessments on the performance of more than 3,500 stock-listed companies with an initial revenue of greater than 250 million Euro globally, across industries, over a period of 12 years from 1997 to 2009.

image

Revenue Growth and Profitability: ROA, ROS and ROE tend to rise with revenue growth to a certain extent.

Due to the span of time included in the study, the authors considered their findings to be, for the most part, independent of specific economic cycles. The study found that return on assets, return on sales and return on equity do in fact rise with increasing revenue growth of between 10% to 25%, and then fall with further increasing revenue growth rates. Furthermore, the authors attributed this profitability increase to the following facts:

  1. Companies with substantial profitability have the opportunity to invest more in additional growth, and
  2. Substantial growth may be a driver for additional profitability, whether by attracting high performing young professionals, providing motivation for current employees, attracting better business partners, or simply leading to more self-confidence.

However, according to the study, growth rates beyond the “profitability maximum” rate could bring about circumstances that reduce overall profitability because of the efforts necessary to handle additional growth (i.e., integrating new staff, controlling quality, etc).

Dividend Payments and Earnings Retention

The dividend payout and retention ratios offer insight into how much of a firm’s profit is distributed to shareholders versus retained.

Learning Objectives

Calculate a company’s dividend payout and retention ratios

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Many corporations retain a portion of their earnings and pay the remainder as a dividend.
  • Dividends are usually paid in the form of cash, store credits, or shares in the company.
  • Cash dividends are a form of investment income and are usually taxable to the recipient in the year that they are paid.
  • Dividend payout ratio is the fraction of net income a firm pays to its stockholders in dividends.
  • Retained earnings can be expressed in the retention ratio.

Key Terms

  • stock split: To issue a higher number of new shares to replace old shares. This effectively increases the number of shares outstanding without changing the market capitalization of the company.

Dividend Payments and Earnings Retention

Dividends are payments made by a corporation to its shareholder members. It is the portion of corporate profits paid out to stockholders. On the other hand, retained earnings refers to the portion of net income which is retained by the corporation rather than distributed to its owners as dividends. Similarly, if the corporation takes a loss, then that loss is retained and called variously retained losses, accumulated losses or accumulated deficit. Retained earnings and losses are cumulative from year to year with losses offsetting earnings. Many corporations retain a portion of their earnings and pay the remainder as a dividend.

A dividend is allocated as a fixed amount per share. Therefore, a shareholder receives a dividend in proportion to their shareholding. Retained earnings are shown in the shareholder equity section in the company’s balance sheet –the same as its issued share capital.

Public companies usually pay dividends on a fixed schedule, but may declare a dividend at any time, sometimes called a “special dividend” to distinguish it from the fixed schedule dividends. Dividends are usually paid in the form of cash, store credits (common among retail consumers’ cooperatives), or shares in the company (either newly created shares or existing shares bought in the market). Further, many public companies offer dividend reinvestment plans, which automatically use the cash dividend to purchase additional shares for the shareholder.

Cash dividends (most common) are those paid out in currency, usually via electronic funds transfer or a printed paper check. Such dividends are a form of investment income and are usually taxable to the recipient in the year they are paid. This is the most common method of sharing corporate profits with the shareholders of the company. For each share owned, a declared amount of money is distributed. Thus, if a person owns 100 shares and the cash dividend is $0.50 per share, the holder of the stock will be paid $50. Dividends paid are not classified as an expense but rather a deduction of retained earnings. Dividends paid do not show up on an income statement but do appear on the balance sheet.

image

Example Balance Sheet: Retained earnings can be found on the balance sheet, under the owners’ (or shareholders’) equity section.

Stock dividends are those paid out in the form of additional stock shares of the issuing corporation or another corporation (such as its subsidiary corporation). They are usually issued in proportion to shares owned (for example, for every 100 shares of stock owned, a 5% stock dividend will yield five extra shares). If the payment involves the issue of new shares, it is similar to a stock split in that it increases the total number of shares while lowering the price of each share without changing the market capitalization, or total value, of the shares held.

Dividend Payout and Retention Ratios

Dividend payout ratio is the fraction of net income a firm pays to its stockholders in dividends:

The part of the earnings not paid to investors is left for investment to provide for future earnings growth. These retained earnings can be expressed in the retention ratio. Retention ratio can be found by subtracting the dividend payout ratio from one, or by dividing retained earnings by net income.

Dividend Payout Ratio: The dividend payout ratio is equal to dividend payments divided by net income for the same period.

Relationships between ROA, ROE, and Growth

Return on assets is a component of return on equity, both of which can be used to calculate a company’s rate of growth.

Learning Objectives

Discuss the different uses of the Return on Assets and Return on Assets ratios

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Return on equity measures the rate of return on the shareholders ‘ equity of common stockholders.
  • Return on assets shows how profitable a company’s assets are in generating revenue.
  • In other words, return on assets makes up two-thirds of the DuPont equation measuring return on equity.
  • Capital intensity is the term for the amount of fixed or real capital present in relation to other factors of production. Rising capital intensity pushes up the productivity of labor.

Key Terms

  • return on common stockholders’ equity: a fiscal year’s net income (after preferred stock dividends but before common stock dividends) divided by total equity (excluding preferred shares), expressed as a percentage
  • quantitatively: With respect to quantity rather than quality.

Return On Assets Versus Return On Equity

In review, return on equity measures the rate of return on the ownership interest (shareholders’ equity) of common stockholders. Therefore, it shows how well a company uses investment funds to generate earnings growth. Return on assets shows how profitable a company’s assets are in generating revenue. Return on assets is equal to net income divided by total assets.

Return On Assets: Return on assets is equal to net income divided by total assets.

This percentage shows what the company can do with what it has (i.e., how many dollars of earnings they derive from each dollar of assets they control). This is in contrast to return on equity, which measures a firm’s efficiency at generating profits from every unit of shareholders’ equity. Return on assets is, however, a vital component of return on equity, being an indicator of how profitable a company is before leverage is considered. In other words, return on assets makes up two-thirds of the DuPont equation measuring return on equity.

ROA, ROE, and Growth

In terms of growth rates, we use the value known as return on assets to determine a company’s internal growth rate. This is the maximum growth rate a firm can achieve without resorting to external financing. We use the value for return on equity, however, in determining a company’s sustainable growth rate, which is the maximum growth rate a firm can achieve without issuing new equity or changing its debt-to-equity ratio.

Capital Intensity and Growth

Return on assets gives us an indication of the capital intensity of the company. “Capital intensity” is the term for the amount of fixed or real capital present in relation to other factors of production, especially labor. The underlying concept here is how much output can be procured from a given input (assets!). The formula for capital intensity is below:

Capital Intensity=Total AssetsSales

The use of tools and machinery makes labor more effective, so rising capital intensity pushes up the productivity of labor. While companies that require large initial investments will generally have lower return on assets, it is possible that increased productivity will provide a higher growth rate for the company. Capital intensity can be stated quantitatively as the ratio of the total money value of capital equipment to the total potential output. However, when we adjust capital intensity for real market situations, such as the discounting of future cash flows, we find that it is not independent of the distribution of income. In other words, changes in the retention or dividend payout ratios can lead to changes in measured capital intensity.

 

 

1280px-DuPontModelEng.svg

Please see my related posts:

Rising Market Concentration and Declining Business Investments in the USA – Update June 2018

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FDI vs Outsourcing: Extending Boundaries or Extending Network Chains of Firms

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Low Interest Rates and Business Investments : Update August 2017

Low Interest Rates and Monetary Policy Effectiveness

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Mergers and Acquisitions – Long Term Trends and Waves

Business Investments and Low Interest Rates

The Decline in Long Term Real Interest Rates

Low Interest Rates and Banks Profitability: Update – December 2016

 

 Key Sources of Research:

 

 

 

The DuPont Equation, ROE, ROA, and Growth

https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-finance/chapter/the-dupont-equation-roe-roa-and-growth/

 

 

Short-Termism in business: causes, mechanisms and consequences

EY Poland Report

 

Click to access Short-termism_raport_EY.pdf

 

 

Shareholders vs Stakeholders Capitalism

Fabian Brandt

Goethe University

Konstantinos Georgiou

University of Pennsylvania

 

https://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=fisch_2016

 

 

Hedrick Smith Speaks to the Community about Who Stole the American Dream.

 

http://nhlabornews.com/2013/10/hedrick-smith-speaks-to-the-community-about-who-stole-the-american-dream/

 

 

Let’s Talk About “Maximizing Shareholder Value”

https://www.pragcap.com/lets-talk-about-maximizing-shareholder-value/

 

 

SHAREHOLDER CAPITALISM: A SYSTEM IN CRISIS

 

New Economics Foundation

 

Click to access NEF_SHAREHOLDER-CAPITALISM_E_latest.pdf

 

 

 

THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF SHAREHOLDER VALUE CAPITALISM

 

Mark S. Mizruchi and Howard Kirneldorf

 

Click to access 191bbc2b82f351633c7379deea7b9ccad0e9.pdf

 

 

Shareholder capitalism on trial

 

By Robert J. Samuelson

 

Click to access 03-19-15_WashingtonPost.pdf

 

 

 

The real business of business

McKinsey

 

https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/dotcom/client_service/Corporate%20Finance/MoF/Issue%2053/MoF53_The_real_business_of_business.ashx

 

 

 

Managers and Market Capitalism

 

Rebecca Henderson Karthik Ramanna

HBR

 

Click to access Henderson_Ramanna___Managers_and_Market_Capitalism___March_2013.pdf

 

 

The Embedded Firm: Corporate Governance, Labor, and Finance Capitalism

Peer Zumbansen

Cynthia A. Williams

 

http://digitalcommons.osgoode.yorku.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1056&context=clpe

 

 

 

 

Andrew G Haldane: Who owns a company?

Speech by Mr Andrew G Haldane,

Executive Director and Chief Economist of the Bank of England,

at the University of Edinburgh Corporate Finance Conference, Edinburgh,

22 May 2015.

 

Click to access r150811a.pdf

 

 

 

 

Capitalism for the Long Term

MARCH 2011
HBR

The Short Long

 

Speech by
Andrew G Haldane, Executive Director, Financial Stability, and Richard Davies

29th Societé Universitaire Europeene de Recherches Financieres Colloquium: New Paradigms in Money and Finance?

Brussels

May 2011

 

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/speech/2011/the-short-long-speech-by-andrew-haldane

 

 

 

 

Is short-termism wrecking the economy?

Redefining capitalism

By Eric Beinhocker and Nick Hanauer

Fast finance and slow growth

 

Andy Haldane

http://progressive-policy.net/2015/09/fast-finance-and-slow-growth/

 

Beyond Shareholder Value

The reasons and choices for corporate governance reform

Click to access BSV.pdf

 

 

AN ECONOMY FOR THE 99%

It’s time to build a human economy that benefits everyone, not just the privileged few

OXFAM

 

Click to access bp-economy-for-99-percent-160117-en.pdf

 

 

Short-Termism

By Douglas K. Chia

 

Click to access 01181_millstein_10th_anniversary_essay_2_chia_v2.pdf

 

 

 

The Future of Finance

THE LSE REPORT

 

Click to access future-of-finance-chapter-3.pdf

 

 

 

Is Short-Term Behavior Jeopardizing the Future Prosperity of Business?

 

Click to access IsShortTermBehaviorJeopardizingTheFutureProsperityOfBusiness_CEOStrategicImplications.pdf

 

 

 

 

How Effective Capital Regulation can Help Reduce the Too‐Big‐To‐Fail Problem

Anat Admati

Stanford University

 

Click to access Minn-Fed-combined.pdf

 

 

 

Business School’s Worst Idea: Why the “Maximize Shareholder Value” Theory Is Bogus

Yves Smith

http://evonomics.com/maximize-shareholder-value-theory-yves-smith/

 

 

 

When Shareholder Capitalism Came to Town

The American Prospect

http://prospect.org/article/when-shareholder-capitalism-came-town

 

 

 

Competition Conference 2018

What’s the Evidence for Strengthening Competition Policy?

Boston University

July 2018

http://sites.bu.edu/tpri/competition-conference-2018/

 

 

 

Market Concentration

Issues paper by the Secretariat
6-8 June 2018

This document was prepared by the OECD Secretariat to serve as an issues paper for the hearing on market concentration taking place at the 129th meeting of the OECD Competition Committee on 6-8 June 2018

https://one.oecd.org/document/DAF/COMP/WD(2018)46/en/pdf

 

 

 

 

Monopoly’s New Era

In today’s economy, many industries can’t be analyzed through the lens of competition.

Chazen Global Insights
May 13, 2016

 

https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/articles/chazen-global-insights/monopoly-s-new-era

 

 

 

Market power in the U.S. economy today

Washington Center for Equitable Growth

http://equitablegrowth.org/research-analysis/market-power-in-the-u-s-economy-today/

 

 

 

Don’t Panic: A Guide to Claims of Increasing Concentration

Gregory J. Werden

Luke Froeb

 

Date Written: April 5, 2018

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3156912

 

 

 

Market concentration

OECD

http://www.oecd.org/daf/competition/market-concentration.htm

 

 

 

 

A Firm-Level Perspective on the Role of Rents in the Rise in Inequality

Jason Furman Peter Orszag1

October 16, 2015

Click to access FurmanOrszag15.pdf

 

 

 

Do the Productivity Slowdown and the Inequality Increase Have a Common Cause?

Jason Furman (joint work with Peter Orszag)

Peterson Institute for International Economics
Washington, DC
November 9, 2017

Click to access 4-1furman20171109ppt.pdf

 

 

 

Is There a Connection Between Market Concentration and the Rise in Inequality?

https://promarket.org/connection-market-concentration-rise-inequality/

 

 

 

Concentrating on the Fall of the Labor Share

David; Dorn, David; Katz, Lawrence F; Patterson, Christina; Reenen, John Van

Click to access b8d7a989cab4b76e7fe795bf4572dbcdd0bc.pdf

 

 

 

 

Business Investment Spending Slowdown

April 9, 2018

FAS Congressional Research Services

Marc Labonte

Click to access IN10882.pdf

 

 

 

 

Market Power and Inequality: The Antitrust Counterrevolution and Its Discontents

Lina Khan and Sandeep Vaheesan

Click to access HLP110.pdf

 

 

 

Five Myths about Economic Inequality in America

By Michael D. Tanner
September 7, 2016

 

Cato Institiute

https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/five-myths-about-economic-inequality-america

 

 

 

 

Is the US Public Corporation in Trouble?

Kathleen M. Kahle and René M. Stulz

https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.31.3.67

 

 

 

Declining Labor and Capital Shares

Simcha Barkai

Click to access FeijooOnBarkai17.pdf

 

 

 

Growing Productivity without Growing Wages: The Micro-Level Anatomy of the Aggregate Labor Share Decline

Kehrig, Matthias; Vincent, Nicolas

(2017)

Click to access cesifo1_wp6454.pdf

 

 

 

 

Declining Competition and Investment in the U.S.

Germán Gutiérrez† and Thomas Philippon‡

March 2017

Click to access IK_Comp_v1.pdf

 

 

 

ACCOUNTING FOR RISING CORPORATE PROFITS: INTANGIBLES OR REGULATORY
RENTS?

James Bessen

Boston University School of Law

November 9, 2016

Click to access Accounting-for-Rising-Corporate-Profits.pdf

 

 

 

 

Kaldor and Piketty’s facts: The rise of monopoly power in the United States

Gauti Eggertsson
Jacob A. Robbins
Ella Getz Wold

Feb 2018

Click to access 02052018-WP-kaldor-piketty-monopoly-power.pdf

 

 

 

 

Is There an Investment Gap in Advanced Economies? If So, Why?

Robin Döttling

German Gutierrez Gallardo

Thomas Philippon

 

Date Written: July 2017

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3002796

 

 

 

 

Antitrust in a Time of Populism

Professor Carl Shapiro

CRESSE 2017 Heraklion – Crete, Greece

2 July 2017

Click to access 2017_Key_SHAPIRO.pdf

 

 

 

The Incredible Shrinking Universe of Stocks

The Causes and Consequences of Fewer U.S. Equities

Credit Suisse

March 2917

Click to access document_1072753661.pdf

 

 

 

Declining Competition and Investment in the U.S

German Gutierrez Gallardo

Thomas Philippon

 

Date Written: December 2017

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3095586

 

 

 

 

The Fall and Rise of Market Power in Europe

John P. Weche and Achim Wambach

Click to access dp18003.pdf

Click to access 1011811367.pdf

 

 

 

 

On the Formation of Capital and Wealth: IT, Monopoly Power and Rising Inequality

Mordecai Kurz,

Stanford University

2018

Click to access e50bf8be5c75f1cca2e9e3d4afa4b8b8ac84.pdf

 

 

 

 

Appendix for \Investment-less Growth: An Empirical Investigation”

 

German Gutierrez and Thomas Philippony

March 2018

Click to access gutierrezappendixfa17bpea.pdf

 

 

 

 

WP 18-4 Slower Productivity and Higher Inequality: Are They Related?

Jason Furman and Peter Orszag

June 2018

PIIE

Click to access wp18-4.pdf

 

 

 

 

THE FUTURE OF PRODUCTIVITY

OECD

2015

 

Click to access OECD-2015-The-future-of-productivity-book.pdf

 

 

 

 

OECD Study on the Future of Productivity

Video

PIIE

 

 

 

 

 

A productivity perspective on the future of growth

By James Manyika, Jaana Remes, and Jonathan Woetzel
McKinsey
2014

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/employment-and-growth/a-productivity-perspective-on-the-future-of-growth

 

 

 

 

The future of productivity in manufacturing

Anne Green, Terence Hogarth, Erika Kispeter, David Owen

Peter Glover

February 2016

Click to access ier_2016_manufacturing_sector_productivity_report.pdf

 

 

 

 

THE PRODUCTIVITY OUTLOOK: PESSIMISTS VERSUS OPTIMISTS

August 2016

Zia Qureshi
at the Brookings Institution

Click to access productivity-outlook.pdf

 

 

 

The Slowdown in Productivity Growth: A View from International Trade

Development Issues No. 11

UN

April 2017

Click to access dsp_policy_11.pdf

 

 

 

 

Five Puzzles in the Behavior of Productivity, Investment, and Innovation

Robert J. Gordon

NBER

August 2004

http://www.nber.org/papers/w10660

 

 

 

 

AN OECD AGENDA ON ISSUES IN PRODUCTIVITY MEASUREMENT

Paul Schreyer

OECD Statistics Directorate
2016 World KLEMS Conference
Madrid, May 23-24 2016

Click to access worldklems2016_Schreyer_slides.pdf

 

 

 

THE FUTURE OF PRODUCTIVITY

Chiara Criscuolo
Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation OECD

Understanding the Great recession: from micro to macro
Bank of England
London | 24 September 2015

Click to access CCriscuolo.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Industry 4.0

The future of Productivity and Growth in Manufacturing Industries

BCG

Click to access media.media.72e472fb-1698-4a15-8858-344351c8902f.original.pdf

 

 

 

 

The waning of productivity growth

Raymond Van der Putten

http://economic-research.bnpparibas.com/Views/DisplayPublication.aspx?type=document&IdPdf=29178

 

 

The Impact of Robots on Productivity, Employment and Jobs

A positioning paper by the International Federation of Robotics

April 2017

Click to access IFR_The_Impact_of_Robots_on_Employment.pdf

 

 

 

 

The fall in productivity growth: causes and implications

Speech given by Silvana Tenreyro, External MPC Member, Bank of England

Peston Lecture Theatre, Queen Mary University of London

15 January 2018

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/speech/2018/the-fall-in-productivity-growth-causes-and-implications

 

 

 

Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy

Science and Technology Council

Executive Office of the President

December 2016

Click to access EMBARGOED%20AI%20Economy%20Report.pdf

 

 

 

 

Long-term growth and productivity projections in advanced countries

Gilbert Cette, Rémy Lecat & Carole Ly-Marin

Working Paper #617

December 2016

Bank of France

Click to access DT617.pdf

 

 

 

ARE WE APPROACHING AN ECONOMIC SINGULARITY?
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE FUTURE OF ECONOMIC GROWTH

By
William D. Nordhaus

September 2015

Click to access d2021.pdf

 

 

 

Challenges for the Future of Chinese Economic Growth

Jane Haltmaier

Federal Reseve Bank USA

2013

Click to access ifdp1072.pdf

 

 

 

Innovation, research and the UK’s productivity crisis.

Richard Jones

SPERI Paper No. 28

Click to access SPERI-Paper-28-Innovation-research-and-the-UK-productivity-crisis.pdf

 

 

 

Think Like an Enterprise: Why Nations Need Comprehensive Productivity Strategies

BY ROBERT D. ATKINSON

MAY 2016

Click to access 2016-think-like-an-enterprise.pdf

 

 

 

Solving the productivity puzzle

By Jaana Remes, James Manyika, Jacques Bughin, Jonathan Woetzel, Jan Mischke, and Mekala Krishnan

McKinsey

Feb 2018

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/meeting-societys-expectations/solving-the-productivity-puzzle

 

 

 

Solving the productivity puzzle: the role of demand and the promise of digitization

DR. JAN MISCHKE

McKinsey Global Institute

May 2018

Click to access 20180523-MGI_Solving-the-productivity-puzzle_Bruegel.pdf

 

 

Worried about Concentration? Then Worry about Rent-Seeking

By Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles
This article appeared on ProMarket on April 18, 2017.

 

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/worried-about-concentration-then-worry-about-rent-seeking

 

 

 

Online platforms, distortion of markets, social impacts and freedom of expression

Oxford Centre for Competition law and policy

22 May 2017

Tim Cowen.

Click to access Tim_Cowen_Oxford_Centre_for_Competition_Law_and_Policy_speech_22May2017—updated-21.09.2017.pdf

 

 

 

What’s Behind the Increase in Inequality?

By Eileen Appelbaum*

September 2017

Click to access whats-behind-the-increase-in-inequality-2017-09.pdf

 

 

 

A NATIONAL COMPETITION POLICY: UNPACKING THE PROBLEM OF DECLINING COMPETITION AND SETTING PRIORITIES MOVING FORWARD

American Antitrust Institute

September 28, 2016

Click to access AAINatlCompPolicy.pdf

 

 

 

AI and the Economy

Jason Furman
Harvard Kennedy School
Cambridge, MA

Robert Seamans
NYU Stern School of Business
New York, NY

29 May 2018

Click to access c14099.pdf

 

 

 

The United States and Europe: Short-Run Divergence and Long-Run Challenges

Jason Furman
Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers

Remarks at Bruegel
Brussels, Belgium
May 11, 2016

Click to access The-United-States-and-Europe-Short-Run-Divergence-and-Long-Run-Challenges-Jason-Furman.pdf

 

 

 

 

Business Investment Spending Slowdown

April 9, 2018

Marc Labonte

CRS Insights

Click to access IN10882.pdf

 

 

 

 

ECONOMIC REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT

Together With
THE ANNUAL REPORT
of the
COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS

Feb 2016

Click to access ERP-2016.pdf

 

 

Keynote Remarks of Commissioner Terrell McSweeny

Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Making Antitrust Work for the 21st Century

Washington, DC

October 6, 2016

Click to access mcsweeny_-_keynote_remarks_at_equitable_growth_10-6-16.pdf

 

 

Wal-Mart: A Progressive Success Story

Jason Furman

November 28, 2005

Click to access walmart.pdf

 

 

“America Without Entrepreneurs: The Consequences of Dwindling Startup Activity”

Testimony before
The Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
United States Senate
June 29, 2016

John W. Lettieri
Cofounder
& Senior Director for Policy and Strategy
Economic Innovation Group

Click to access 7F75741C1A2E6182E1A5D21B61D278F3.lettieri-testimony.pdf

 

 

 

 

A reading list on market power, superstar firms, and inequality

BLOG

http://www.beyondthetimes.com/2017/08/16/a-partial-reading-list-on-market-power-superstar-firms-and-inequality/

 

 

 

 

 

Productivity Growth in the Advanced Economies:The Past, the Present, and Lessons for the Futures

Jason Furman

Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers

July 2015

Click to access 20150709_productivity_advanced_economies_piie_slides.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Forms and sources of inequality in the United States

Jason Furman

17 March 2016

VOXEU

 

https://voxeu.org/article/forms-and-sources-inequality-united-states

 

 

 

 

Business Investment in the United States: Facts, Explanations, Puzzles, and Policies

Jason Furman
Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers
Progressive Policy Ins9tute

September 30, 2015

Click to access 2015.09.30-Jason-Furman_Business-Investment-in-US-Facts-Explanations-Puzzles-Policies.pdf

 

 

 

 

Can Tax Reform Get Us to 3 Percent Growth?

Jason Furman
Harvard Kennedy School & Peterson Institute for International Economics

New York, NY
November 3, 2017

Click to access furman20171103ppt.pdf

 

 

 

 

Structural Challenges and Opportunities in the U.S. Economy

Jason Furman
Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers

London School of Economics
November 5, 2014

Click to access 20141105_1830_structuralOpportunitiesUSEconomy_tr.pdf

 

 

Is This Time Different? The Opportunities and Challenges of Artificial Intelligence

Jason Furman
Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers

Remarks at AI Now: The Social and Economic Implications of Artificial Intelligence Technologies in the Near Term
New York University
New York, NY

July 7, 2016

Click to access 20160707_cea_ai_furman.pdf

 

 

 

 

Rebalancing the U.S. Economy

Jason Furman

Click to access TIE_Sp15_Furman.pdf

 

 

 

 

Should Policymakers Care Whether Inequality Is Helpful or Harmful For Growth?

Jason Furman

Harvard Kennedy School & Peterson Institute for International Economics
Rethinking Macroeconomic Conference, October 11-12 2017

Preliminary Draft: October 5, 2017

Click to access furman20171012paper.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

A Political Economy of Oligarchy: Winner-take-all ideology, superstar norms, and the rise of the 1%

Yochai Benkler

September, 2017

Click to access Political%20economy%20of%20oligarchy%2001.pdf

 

 

 

 

Can Trump Overcome Secular Stagnation?
Part One: The Demand Side *

James K. Galbraith

Click to access can_trump_overcome_secular_stagnation.pdf

 

 

 

 

The macroeconomic effects of the 2017 tax reform

Robert J. Barro, Harvard University
Jason Furman, Harvard University

March 2018

Click to access 4_barrofurman.pdf

 

 

 

 

A FUTURE THAT WORKS: AUTOMATION, EMPLOYMENT, AND PRODUCTIVITY

McKinsey Global Institute

January 2017

https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/featured%20insights/Digital%20Disruption/Harnessing%20automation%20for%20a%20future%20that%20works/A-future-that-works-Executive-summary-MGI-January-2017.ashx

 

 

 

A MISSING LINK: THE ROLE OF ANTITRUST LAW IN RECTIFYING EMPLOYER POWER IN OUR HIGH-PROFIT, LOW-WAGE ECONOMY

ISSUE BRIEF BY MARSHALL STEINBAUM

APRIL 2018

Click to access Monopsony-issue-brief.pdf

 

 

 

Inclusive Growth

For once, some good news

by jason furman

Click to access 16-29-MR64.pdf

 

 

 

 

The Outlook for the U.S. Economy and the Policies of the New President

Jason Furman
Senior Fellow, PIIE
Peterson Institute for International Economics |

SNS/SHOF Finance Panel

Stockholm

June 12, 2017

Click to access furman20170612ppt.pdf

 

 

 

 

The Role of Economists in Economic Policymaking

Jason Furman
Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

Arnold C. Harberger Distinguished Lecture on Economic Development
UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations
Los Angeles, CA

April 27, 2017

Click to access furman20170427.pdf

 

 

 

 

Market Concentration – Note by the United States

Hearing on Market Concentration
7 June 2018

OECD

Click to access market_concentration_united_states.pdf

http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=DAF/COMP/WD(2018)59&docLanguage=En

 

 

 

 

The fringe economic theory that might get traction in the 2016 campaign

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/02/the-fringe-economic-theory-that-might-get-traction-in-the-2016-campaign/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.77c5e3479485

 

 

 

ACHIEVING INCLUSIVE GROWTH IN THE FACE OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AND THE FUTURE OF WORK

OECD

Click to access achieving_inclusive_growth_in_the_face_of_digital_transformation_and_the_future_of_work_oecd_0.pdf

Rising Market Concentration and Declining Business Investments in the USA – Update June 2018

Rising Market Concentration and Declining Business Investments in the USA – Update June 2018

 

Since my last posts in August/September 2017 on the subject of

  • Market Concentration
  • Inequality
  • Market Power
  • Reduced Competition
  • Reduced Dynamism
  • Rising Profits
  • Declining Business Investments

several new studies have been published.  In addition, several important hearings and conferences have been organized by OECD, Brookings Institution, Boston University School of Law. Please see my list of references for details of each one of them.

This topic now is getting good attention in media also.

The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) held a major research conference on the “Policy Implications of Sustained Low Productivity Growth” on November 9, 2017. Jeromin Zettelmeyer, PIIE, moderates panel 4, “Wages and Inequality.” Presenters include Jason Furman, Harvard University and PIIE, and Lawrence H. Summers, Harvard University.  I have given the link to Video of the session 4 in the references.

OECD on June 7-8, 2018 held hearings on Market Concentration at Paris, France.  Several presentations were given by experts in the field.  I have given link to the conference webpage in the references.

The Hamilton Project/Brookings Institution had a Conference on June 13, 2018 in Washington DC on the subject of Market Concentration.  Please see the link to the conference video and papers in the references below.

 

 

From The State of Competition and Dynamism:
Facts about Concentration, Start-Ups, and Related Policies

concentration

From The State of Competition and Dynamism:
Facts about Concentration, Start-Ups, and Related Policies

 

concentration2concentration3concentration4concentration5

Please see my related posts:

Rising Profits, Rising Inequality, and Rising Industry Concentration in the USA

Low Interest Rates and Business Investments : Update August 2017

Increasing Returns, Path Dependence, Circular and Cumulative Causation in Economics

Increasing Returns and Path Dependence in Economics

Business Investments and Low Interest Rates

Mergers and Acquisitions – Long Term Trends and Waves

 

Key Sources of Research:

Building a More Dynamic and Competitive Economy

Hamilton Project

Brookings

June 13, 2018

http://www.hamiltonproject.org/events/building_a_more_dynamic_and_competitive_economy

Video of the Opening Remarks and Fireside Chat – Robert Rubin, Jason Furman, Steve Case

The State of Competition and Dynamism:
Facts about Concentration, Start-Ups, and Related Policies

 

Jay Shambaugh, Ryan Nunn, Audrey Breitwieser, and Patrick Liu

Brookings/Hamilton Project

June 2018

 

Click to access ES_THP_20180611_CompetitionFacts_20180611.pdf

 

 

 

Market Concentration

OECD Hearing on Market Concentration

June 7-8, 2018

http://www.oecd.org/daf/competition/market-concentration.htm

 

 

 

Market Concentration Issues paper by the Secretariat

6-8 June 2018

OECD

 

http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=DAF/COMP/WD(2018)46&docLanguage=En

http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=DAF/COMP/WD(2018)67&docLanguage=En

 

 

 

Presented by the Business at OECD (BIAC) Competition Committee to the OECD Competition Committee

Market Concentration

June 7, 2018

 

Click to access BIAC_CC_Market-Concentration_2018-05-22_FINAL1.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter VI

MARKET POWER AND INEQUALITY: THE REVENGE OF THE RENTIERS

Trade and Development Report 2017

UNCTAD

 

Click to access tdr2017ch6_en.pdf

 

 

The fall and rise of market power in Europe∗

John P. Wechea,b & Achim Wambacha

 

Click to access dp18003.pdf

 

 

 

A policy at peace with itself: Antitrust remedies for our concentrated, uncompetitive economy

William A. Galston and Clara Hendrickson

2018

https://www.brookings.edu/research/a-policy-at-peace-with-itself-antitrust-remedies-for-our-concentrated-uncompetitive-economy/

 

 

 

 

The Rise of Market Power and the Macroeconomic Implications

Jan De Loecker, Jan Eeckhout

Issued in August 2017

http://www.nber.org/papers/w23687

 

 

 

 

This chart highlights the rise of corporate giants

WEF

2018

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/chart-of-the-week-the-rise-of-corporate-giants

 

 

 

Market power in the U.S. economy today

 

https://equitablegrowth.org/market-power-in-the-u-s-economy-today/

 

 

 

Is Lack of Competition Strangling the U.S. Economy?

David Wessel

https://hbr.org/2018/03/is-lack-of-competition-strangling-the-u-s-economy

 

 

 

Competition Conference 2018

What’s the Evidence for Strengthening Competition Policy?

Boston University

July 2018

http://sites.bu.edu/tpri/news-and-events/competition-conference-2018/

 

 

 

Declining Competition and Investment in the U.S.

Germán Gutiérrez† and Thomas Philippon‡

November 2017

https://www.aeaweb.org/conference/2018/preliminary/paper/iDeysKkh

 

 

Should We Really Care About Inequality?

https://www.project-syndicate.org/videos/should-we-really-care-about-inequality

 

 

 

 

Beyond Antitrust: The Role of Competition Policy in Promoting Inclusive Growth

Jason Furman

Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers

Searle Center Conference on Antitrust Economics and Competition Policy Chicago, IL

September 16, 2016

 

Click to access 20160916_searle_conference_competition_furman_cea.pdf

 

 

POWERLESS: How Lax Antitrust and Concentrated Market Power
Rig the Economy Against American Workers, Consumers, and Communities

Roosvelt Institute

Click to access Powerless.pdf

 

 

 

Is Government the Problem or the Solution to U.S. Labor Market Challenges?

Jason Furman

2018

 

https://minneapolisfed.org/~/media/files/institute/conferences/2018-05/furman-slides.pdf?la=en

 

 

 

With Competition in Tatters, the Rip of Inequality widens

 

 

 

THE 2018 JOINT ECONOMIC REPORT

REPORT OF THE JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES

ON THE 2018 ECONOMIC REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT

 

Click to access CRPT-115hrpt596.pdf

 

 

 

 

Concentration not competition: the state of UK consumer markets

2017

 

Click to access Concentration-not-competition.pdf

 

 

 

CORPORATE RENT-SEEKING, MARKET POWER AND INEQUALITY:
TIME FOR A MULTILATERAL TRUST BUSTER?

UNCTAD

May 2018

 

Click to access presspb2018d3_en.pdf

 

 

 

America’s Superstar Companies Are a Drag on Growth

Lack of competition lets them gouge consumers, underpay workers and invest too little.

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-09-01/america-s-superstar-companies-are-a-drag-on-growth

 

 

 

Big Companies Are Getting a Chokehold on the Economy

Even Goldman Sachs is worried that they’re stifling competition, holding down wages and weighing on growth.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-22/big-companies-gaining-monopoly-power-pose-risk-to-u-s-economy

 

 

 

Monopolies May Be Worse for Workers Than for Consumers

There isn’t much evidence that they raise prices, but they do seem to hold down wages.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-12-29/monopolies-may-be-worse-for-workers-than-for-consumers

 

 

 

 

LABOR MARKET CONCENTRATION

José Azar
Ioana Marinescu Marshall I. Steinbaum

2017 December

 

Click to access w24147.pdf

 

 

 

 

More and more companies have monopoly power over workers’ wages. That’s killing the economy.

The trend can explain slow growth, “missing” workers, and stagnant salaries.

 

https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2018/4/6/17204808/wages-employers-workers-monopsony-growth-stagnation-inequality

 

Antitrust Remedies for Labor Market Power

Suresh Naidu

Eric A. Posner

E. Glen Weyl

 

Date Written: February 23, 2018

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3129221

 

 

Policy Implications of Sustained Low Productivity Growth – Panel 4

Jason Furman / Larry Summers

Peterson Institute for International Economics

November 2017

https://piie.com/events/policy-implications-sustained-low-productivity-growth

Presentation by jason Furman

Click to access 4-1furman20171109ppt.pdf

Paper by Jason Furman – published June 2018

Click to access wp18-4.pdf

Panel 4 Video:

 

Rising Profits, Rising Inequality, and Rising Industry Concentration in the USA

Rising Profits, Rising Inequality, and Rising Industry Concentration in the USA

 

There is a need for holistic/systemic understanding of causal relations among

  • Low Economic Growth
  • Low Real Long Term Interest Rates
  • Decreased Business Investment
  • Mergers and Acquisitions Activity
  • Industry Concentration
  • Decreased Competition
  • Rising Profits
  • Income Inequality
  • Shareholder Capitalism
  • Dividends Payouts
  • Buyback of Shares
  • Superstar Firms
  • Too Big to Fail
  • Oligopoly Economy / Oligarchy
  • Decreased Number of Stocks/Equities
  • Focus on Costs Minimization
  • Increased Outsourcing
  • Global Value Chains
  • Free Trade Agreements
  • Market Power (Increased Market Share)
  • Decreased Dynamism
  • Herding by Suppliers
  • Labor Vs Executive Compensation
  • Unemployment
  • Concentration in Occupations

And don’t forget managerial focus on

  • Economic Value Added (EVA) since 1990s

 

There are two views to look at these issues

  • Aggregated View – Corporate Agglomeration and Spatial Dispersion / Extension
  • Disaggregated View – Micro Motives, Macro Behavior ( Bottom up Agent based view)

 

As the research papers below indicate, the scholarship is recent and need much more attention by the Economists and Policy makers.

 

From Is There a Connection Between Market Concentration and the Rise in Inequality?

The rise in wealth and income inequality has been at the forefront of the political debate in the U.S. in the last few years. At the same time, issues like market power and concentration, bigness, and antitrust have also come back into prominence, propelled by a growing body of research that points to diminishing competition across multiple American industries.

The possible connection between inequality and market concentration, however, has been relatively understudied for many years—until recent years, that is, when a sheafof new studies examining the interactions between concentration, market power, and inequality began to appear.

A 2015 paper by Jonathan Baker and Steven Salop, for instance, examined the connection between inequality and market power and argued that “because the creation and exercise of market power tend to raise the return to capital, market power contributes to the development and perpetuation of inequality.” Harvard Law School’s Einer Elhauge also found that horizontal shareholding likely leads to anti-competitive price raises and has regressive effects. Daniel Crane of the University of Michigan, however, contends that the connection between antitrust and wealth inequality has been grossly oversimplified by advocates of tougher antitrust enforcement.

Asked if there was a connection between concentration and inequality, Chicago Booth professors Austan Goolsbee, Steven Kaplan, and Sam Peltzman pointed to data being inconclusive. Goolsbee said: “Probably [there is a connection]. But we don’treally know more than correlations at this point.” Kaplan said his own research “suggests that winner-take-all markets (driven by technology and scale) play a rolein inequality. However, they may not play the most important role.” And Peltzmansaid that “The timing suggests so, but there are a lot of unconnected dots in this question.”

Is rising inequality connected to monopolies, rent-seeking, and concentration, or is it a result of larger forces like globalization and technology? Can antitrust be used effectively to mitigate inequality, or is concentration a sign of greater efficiency? These questions, and others, were debated by economists and legal scholars during a panel at the recent Stigler Center conference on concentration in America.

The panel featured Peter Orszag, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the financial advisory and asset management firm Lazard Freres; Justin Pierce, a Senior Economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve; Lina Khan, a fellow at Open Markets program at New America; Sabeel Rahman, an Assistant Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School; Simcha Barkai, a PhD Candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business; and German Gutierrez, a PhD Candidate at the New York University Stern School of Business. The panel was moderated by Matt Stoller of the Open Markets program at New America, who opened by observing that “a new kind of Brandeis School of antitrust is emerging, in terms of thinking about political economy.”

Much of the panel focused on the dramatic rise in corporate profits. A recent, much-discussed Stigler Center working paper by Simcha Barkai found that over the past 30 years, as labor’s share of output fell by 10 percent, the capital share declined even further. This finding goes against the argument that the labor share went down due to technological changes, or as Barkai put it: “We used to spend money on people, today we’re spending money on robots.”

Barkai’s paper finds no evidence to support the technological argument. “We’re spending less on all inputs. If you think of this from the perspective of a firm, this is terrific. After accounting for all of my costs—material inputs, workers, capital—I am left with a large amount of money, much more so than in the past.” What Barkai does find, however, is that profits have gone way up. From 1984 to 2014, the profit share increased from 2.5 percent of GDP to 15 percent.

“To give you a sense of how large these profits are, if you look over the past 30 years and you ask, ‘How much have profits increased?’ you can give a number in dollars. A better way to think about that is, “Per worker, how much have these dollars increased?” It’s about $14,000 per worker. That’s a really large number because, in 2014, personal median income was just over $28,000. It’s about half of personal median income,” said Barkai.

Barkai went on to say that these findings were more pronounced in industries that experienced an increase in concentration. “Those industries that have a large increase in concentration also have larger declines in the labor share,” he said. Barkai’s conclusions were echoed by a separate study that was recently published by David Autor, David Dorn, Lawrence Katz, Christina Patterson, and John Van Reenen, in which they found that higher concentration is connected to the fall in the labor share.

One way to consider the question of concentration and inequality, said Pierce, is to look at what happens to firms’ efficiency and markups as a result of a merger. In a recent paper with Bruce Blonigen, Pierce was able to utilize new techniques in order to isolate the effects of mergers in the manufacturing sector. Comparing data from factories that were acquired during mergers to similar factories that weren’t, and to factories where an acquisition has been announced but not yet completed, Pierce and Blonigen found no evidence of the standard argument that mergers benefit consumers by increasing efficiency, reducing production costs, and, in turn, lowering prices. Quite the opposite: they found evidence that mergers increase market power, allowing firms to generate higher profits by raising prices.

“What we find when we do this is that mergers on average are associated with increases in markups in a magnitude of 15 to 50 percent. When we look at the effect on productivity, we actually don’t find a statistically significant effect on productivity associated with mergers,” said Pierce.

Gutierrez, meanwhile, spoke about his 2016 paper with Thomas Philippon, in which the two found that concentrated industries with less entry and more concentration invest less. Before 2000, he explained, firms funneled about 20 cents of every dollar of surplus into investments. Since 2000, however, investments dropped by half—to 10 cents on the dollar.

Their findings, he said, rule out the argument that the drop in investments is related to control by the stock market. The data also rule out other theories, such as financial constraints, safety premiums, or globalization. “What we’re left with is competition, or lack of competition and governance,” said Gutierrez.

“What we find is that most industries have become more concentrated. That leads to a decrease in investment. It means less investment by leaders in particular, and at the industry as a whole. Some manufacturing industries have seen increased competition from China. For the U.S. in particular, we see that leaders invest more. They try and hold onto their position, but the overall effect is somewhat negative on aggregate investment in the U.S.”

How is this drop in investments connected to an increase in concentration? Gutierrez offered two hypotheses: one, that superstar firms, such as digital platforms, are more productive and are therefore capturing more market share. The second, he said, is increased regulation: “In particular, if you look at the cross section of industries, industries where regulation has increased have also tended to become more concentrated and have invested less.”

Orszag, the former head of the Office of Management and Budget and former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, co-authored a 2015 paper with former Obama economic adviser Jason Furman that explored the rise in “supernormal returns on capital” among firms that have limited competition. In the panel, he spoke about what he described as a “dramatic rise” in dispersion among firms in productivity and wages as an understudied driver of inequality.

“In general, if you look at most textbooks on economics and most discussions of public policy, firms are seen as this uninteresting thing that you have to deal with but don’t want to really get into the innards of. Why do some firms behave differently than others? Having now spent a bunch of time in the private sector, the culture in firms really is quite different. Firms do behave differently from one to another beyond just market structure. Within the same market in the same field, Firm A is not the same as Firm B, as people who work inside those firms know.”

Orszag pointed to OECD data that showed that top global firms have been largely exempted from the decline in productivity that advanced economies experienced over the last 10-15 years. “If there’s a structural explanation for that, whether it’s polarization or market structure or innovation, why is it affecting only the laggards in the industry and not those at the frontier? Secondly, why aren’t there more spillovers from the frontier firms within each sector to others? What is happening to the flow of information or the flow of technique or what have you that’s causing this broad, significant rise in productivity deltas across firms, even within the same sector?” he asked.

Orszag also suggested that contrary to media narratives that present growing gaps between CEO wages and median workers within each firm as a prominent driver of inequality, the bulk of the rise in wage gaps is happening between firms, and not within the firms themselves. Studies, he said, show a dramatic increase in between-firm wage inequality “and very little movement except at the very, very largest firms in within-firm inequality.”

Orszag added: “We don’t know exactly what’s causing this. This may be a sorting of workers. It may be sharing of rents in the form of wages for the top firms. It may be a whole variety of different things. What I do suggest is the vast majority of the discussion on income-and-wage inequality seems to just glide over this whole thing as if it doesn’t exist.”

A holistic approach to inequality and concentration

Khan, who in a recent paper with Sandeep Vaheesan explored the role of monopoly and oligopoly power in perpetuating inequality, argued that the way to understand the connection between market concentration and inequality is to take a more holistic approach.

The connection between excessive market concentration and inequality, she said, has been understudied for a long time. “We were really surprised to see that at the time, in 2014, there really wasn’t much research on this connection at all. The most comprehensive paper that we found was from 1975 by William Comanor and Robert Smiley, which found that monopoly power did in fact transfer wealth to the most affluent members of society and suggested that a more competitive economy would have more progressive redistributive effects,” said Kahn. “One way to understand why this connection between market concentration and inequality has been understudied is that the law decided that it wasn’t really important. Once we shifted from an antitrust approach that took a more holistic and multidimensional view of the effect of market power to an approach that privilege means prices, the research on these effects also took a hit.”

In their paper, Khan and Vaheesan argue that inequality not only harms efficiency, but also that firms use their market power to raise prices “above competitive levels to consumers and push prices below competitive levels for small producers.” The paper makes a case for more rigorous enforcement of antitrust laws, arguing that reinvigorating antitrust could be one possible remedy for the regressive redistributive effects of concentration and the political power of monopolies.

“I think at a very basic level, our current political economy reflects 30 years of doing antitrust in a very particular way,” said Khan, who listed several industries such as airlines, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and telecom, where prices have risen following mergers and industry consolidation.

“New business creation and growth have been on a secular decline. It’s worth recalling that in an earlier era, owning one’s own business was a form of asset building for the middle class, a way of passing on wealth to one’s children. This is especially still true in immigrant communities, where owning your own bodega or your own dry-cleaning service is a path of upward mobility. You can imagine how markets that shut out independent businesses are also effectively closing off that path of asset building,” said Khan.

Khan went on to discuss the political implications of excessive market power and how they can further entrench inequality. “Big firms and concentrated industries enjoy a level of political power that they can use to further entrench their economic dominance. Politics is another vessel by which we see this,” she said.

Rahman, author of the book Democracy Against Domination (Oxford University Press, 2016), also advocated for a wider view of the issue. “When we’re worried about the problem of concentration, I think it goes much broader than the specific areas of mergers and firm size, although that’s a big part of it,” he said.

“When we think about the good things that we want from the economy, we want it to be dynamic, we want it to be innovative, we want it to enable mobility. These things are not natural products. They are a property of the underlying structure of firms, of labor markets, of financial markets, and of policies, including antitrust,” said Rahman, who went on to discuss two aspects of the rise in concentration: digital platforms and the “Uber-ization” of more and more economic sectors, and what he described as a “growing geographic concentration of wealth, income, and opportunity between rural and urban.”

Rahman suggested that other tools, not just antitrust, could be used to combat excessive market power—particularly when it comes to the power of digital platforms. “The way I want to frame this is as a problem of concentration and inequality that warps the structure of opportunity in our economy,” said Rahman. “You have antitrust and public utility law, corporate governance, and labor law as three parts of the larger ecosystem of law and regulation that, coming out of that Progressive era debate about power, were the three complements that together, it was hoped, would produce a high-opportunity, a high-mobility economy that was open to all.”

 

Please also see my related post.

Low Interest Rates and Business Investments : Update August 2017

 

In addition to papers listed above, also see papers and articles mentioned in the references below.

Key sources of Research:

 

Rising Corporate Concentration, Declining Trade Union Power, and the Growing Income Gap: American Prosperity in Historical Perspective

Jordan Brennan

March 2016

 

http://piketty.pse.ens.fr/files/Brennan2016.pdf

They Just Get Bigger: How Corporate Mergers Strangle the Economy

Jordan Brennan

Feb 2017

http://evonomics.com/corporate-mergers-strangle-economy-jordan-brennan/

 The Oligarchy Economy: Concentrated Power, Income Inequality, and Slow Growth

Jordan Brennan

April 2016

http://evonomics.com/the-oligarchy-economy/

Declining Labor and Capital Shares

Simcha Barkai

November 2016

 

https://research.chicagobooth.edu/~/media/5872FBEB104245909B8F0AE8A84486C9.pdf

 

Lack of market competition, rising profits, and a new way to look at the division of income in the United States

Nov 2016

http://equitablegrowth.org/equitablog/lack-of-market-competition-rising-profits-and-a-new-way-to-look-at-the-division-of-income-in-the-united-states/

Rising U.S. business concentration and the decline in labor’s share of income

January 2017

http://equitablegrowth.org/equitablog/rising-concentration-declining-labor-share/

 

Concentrating on the Fall of the Labor Share

By DAVID AUTOR, DAVID DORN, LAWRENCE F. KATZ, CHRISTINA PATTERSON AND JOHN VAN REENEN

January 2017

http://www.nber.org/papers/w23108

Declining Competition and Investment in the U.S.

German Gutierrez and Thomas Philippon

March 2017

https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty-research/sites/faculty-research/files/finance/Macro%20Lunch/IK_Comp_v1.pdf

 

Dynamism in Retreat:  Consequences for Regions, Markets, and Workers

2017

 

https://eig.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Dynamism-in-Retreat.pdf

 

The Oligopoly Problem

 

NewYorker

 

http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-oligopoly-problem

 

 

DOES INDUSTRY CONCENTRATION MATTER?

John J. Phelan

2014

Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research, Volume 15, Number 1, 2014

 

 

http://www.alliedacademies.org/articles/does-industry-concentration-matter.pdf

 

 

Increased Concentration of Occupations, Outsourcing, and Growing Wage Inequality in the United States

Elizabeth Weber Handwerker

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

April, 2017

 

http://www.sole-jole.org/17733.pdf

 

 

Measuring occupational concentration by industry

2014

 

https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-3/pdf/measuring-occupational-concentration-by-industry.pdf

 

 

Rising wage dispersion between white-collar and blue-collar workers and market concentration: The case of the USA, 1966-2011,

D. Ilhan

(2017)

 

https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/162859/1/893982539.pdf

 

 

 

Rising Profits Don’t Lift Workers’ Boats

2016

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-05/rising-profits-don-t-lift-workers-boats

Is There a Connection Between Market Concentration and the Rise in Inequality?

 A Firm-Level Perspective on the Role of Rents in the Rise in Inequality

Jason Furman Peter Orszag
October 16, 2015

 

http://gabriel-zucman.eu/files/teaching/FurmanOrszag15.pdf

 Evidence for the Effects of Mergers on Market Power and Efficiency

Blonigen, Bruce A., and Justin R. Pierce

(2016).

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/feds/2016/files/2016082pap.pdf

 

 

Market Power and Inequality: The Antitrust Counterrevolution and its Discontents

11 Harvard Law & Policy Review 235 (2017)

24 Apr 2016Last revised: 22 Feb 2017

Lina Khan / Sandeep Vaheesan

 

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2769132

 

Too much of a good thing

Economist

March 26 2016

https://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21695385-profits-are-too-high-america-needs-giant-dose-competition-too-much-good-thing

 

 The Fall of the Labor Share and the Rise of Superstar Firms

David Autor, MIT and NBER

David Dorn, University of Zurich

Lawrence F. Katz, Harvard University and NBER

Christina Patterson, MIT

John Van Reenen, MIT and NBER

May 1, 2017

https://economics.mit.edu/files/12979

 

 

BENEFITS OF COMPETITION AND INDICATORS OF MARKET POWER

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/page/files/20160502_competition_issue_brief_updated_cea.pdf

 

 

 Market Concentration Grew During Obama Administration

SAM BATKINS, CURTIS ARNDT, BEN GITIS |

APRIL 7, 2016

 

https://www.americanactionforum.org/print/?url=https://www.americanactionforum.org/research/market-concentration-grew-obama-administration/

 Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Inequality

JONATHAN B. BAKER AND STEVEN C. SALOP

2015

http://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2474&context=facpub

Horizontal Shareholding, Antitrust, Growth and Inequality

Are US Industries Becoming More Concentrated?

Gustavo Grullon   Yelena Larkin   Roni Michaely

Date Written: April 23, 2017

 

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2612047

Horizontal Shareholding

109 Harvard Law Review 1267 (2016)

Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 16-17    22 Apr 2016

 

Einer Elhauge

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2632024

IS THERE A CONCENTRATION PROBLEM IN AMERICA?

MARCH 27–29, 2017

Conference at University of Chicago / Stigler Center

https://research.chicagobooth.edu/stigler/events/single-events/march-27-2017

 

 

“Reigniting Competition in the American Economy”

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Keynote Remarks at New America’s Open Markets Program Event June 29, 2016

 

https://www.warren.senate.gov/files/documents/2016-6-29_Warren_Antitrust_Speech.pdf

 

 

The Rise of Market Power and the Macroeconomic Implications

Jan De Loecker† Jan Eeckhout‡

August 24, 2017

http://www.janeeckhout.com/wp-content/uploads/RMP.pdf

The Rise of Market Power and the Decline of Labor’s Share

The Financialization of the U.S. Economy Has Produced Mechanisms That Lead Toward Concentration

 June 2017

“No Convincing Evidence That Concentration Has Been a Major Factor in Explaining Poor U.S. Economic Performance”

 March 2017

Economists: “Totality of Evidence” Underscores Concentration Problem in the U.S.

“I Suspect the Major Reason for the Rise in Concentration Is Technological Change, Particularly in IT”

“The Increase in Common Ownership Corresponds to the Concentration Increase That Several Large Mergers Would Create”

Worried About Concentration? Then Worry About Rent-Seeking

“There Is Unambiguous Evidence That Concentration Is on the Rise and Widespread Over Most Industries”

A Second Gilded Age: The Consolidation of Wealth and Corporate Power

AMERICAN CONSTITUTION SOCIETY

JUNE 16, 2017