Macroeconomics Seminar - Wenjie Chen (International Monetary Fund)

Room 315, Level 3, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street, Carlton


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Lawrence Uren

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Title: The Rise of Corporate Market Power and its Macroeconomic Effects

Abstract: This paper investigates whether corporate market power has increased and, if so, what the macroeconomic implications are. The three main takeaways from a broad analysis of cross-country firm-level patterns are that (1) market power has increased moderately across advanced economies, as indicated by firms’ price markups over marginal costs rising by close to 8 percent since 2000, but not in emerging market economies; (2) the increase has been fairly widespread across advanced economies and industries, but within them, it has been concentrated among a small fraction of dynamic—more productive and innovative—firms; and (3) although the overall macroeconomic implications have been modest so far, further increases in the market power of these already-powerful firms could weaken investment, deter innovation, reduce labor income shares, and make it more difficult for monetary policy to stabilize output.