The University of Chicago worries about a lack of competition

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Media Outlet: The Economist

The Economist wrote an article about a recent conference on concentration hosted by the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago. The event included remarks by Barry Lynn, Matt Stoller, Lina Khan, and Zephyr Teachout, all of the Open Markets Program.

One sign that monopolies are a problem in America is that the University of Chicago has just held a summit on the threat that they may pose to the world’s biggest economy. Until recently, convening a conference supporting antitrust concerns in the Windy City was like holding a symposium on sobriety in New Orleans. In the 1970s economists from the “Chicago school” argued that big firms were not a threat to growth and prosperity. Their views went mainstream, which led courts and regulators to adopt a relaxed attitude towards antitrust laws for decades.
But the mood is changing. There is an emerging consensus among economists that competition in the economy has weakened significantly. That is bad news: it means that incumbent firms may not need to innovate as much, and that inequality may increase if companies can hoard profits and spend less on investment and wages. It may yet be premature to talk about a new Chicago school, but investors and bosses should pay attention to the intellectual shift, which may change American business.


In the News:

Barry Lynn was the director of the Open Markets program at New America. He is author of Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction (Wiley 2010) and End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation (Doubleday 2005).

Lina Khan was a fellow with the Open Markets program at New America, where she researched the concentration of power in America’s political economy and the evolution of antitrust laws. 

Zephyr Teachout was a senior fellow in New America's Open Markets program. She is an Associate Law Professor, a former gubernatorial and Congressional candidate in New York, and the author of Corruption in America

Matt Stoller was fellow at the Open Markets program, where he researched the history of the relationship between concentrated financial power and the Democratic party in the 20th century.